How to Start Discussing Death & Estate Planning with Loved Ones: 3 Helpful Tips
April 15, 2016
During the estate planning process, focusing on the will and other estate planning tools typically takes center stage. What can be just as important and often overlooked, however, is talking about estate planning and the choices made in the plan. While these discussions can seem uncomfortable and upsetting, taking the time to have them is critical to:
Clarifying your wishes – Explaining why you have made certain choices in your estate plan can put your loved ones at ease, and it may even preclude the chances of a will contest later (as your loved ones will know that your will reflects your wishes).
Informing your loved ones of where to find your estate plan when it’s time to carry out the wishes described within it – After a death, searching for an estate plan can be one more stressful thing loved ones have to deal with; by talking to your loved ones about your plan, however, you can eliminate this added stress in the future.
When you are ready to talk about your wishes for the future and your estate plan with your loved ones, here are some helpful tips for initiating this sensitive discussion:
Choose a low-stress time – In other words, don’t try to have an estate planning conversation immediately after any type of crisis or stressful event. Instead, choose a “down” time when your loved ones will be calm, more receptive and ready to listen.
Pick a “safe” and comfortable location – Just as the timing should be carefully chosen for an estate planning discussion, so too the location be specifically selected. While it can be helpful to have these discussions with loved ones at an attorney’s office (or in another safe and formal setting), talking to your loved ones at home (or somewhere that’s less formal but also safe and comfortable) is also a possibility.
Explain why you want to have this discussion – Starting the discussion with an explanation of why you have gathered your loved ones for it can help everyone stay grounded and mature about the discussion moving forward. It can also help dial in the emotions that may arise, as your loved ones will understand the importance of the discussion, which can be helpful to not letting the emotional side take over.
When you are ready for experienced help developing, revising or administering an estate plan, it’s time to contact a trusted Santa Clarita estate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman. For more than 34 years, our experienced legal professionals have been dedicated to providing his clients with personalized, highly responsive service, as well as superior representation for their important legal matters.
To discuss your estate planning needs and options – and find out more about our services and how we can help you, contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the greater Los Angeles area.