Summer is the perfect time for barbecues, family visits, and fun vacations. With all the activity that summer brings, and the fact that you're more likely to see family, now might be the right time to discuss estate planning with loved ones and to think about your own.
You no doubt spend a lot of time planning your trips; how best to get there, where you'll be staying, and what sites you'll see. We encourage you to apply that same energy to reviewing your estate plan before you go. Knowing your estate plan is up-to-date with all your wishes laid out and protections in place will give you extra peace of mind as you enjoy your vacation. Things you should review include your healthcare wishes, guardianship decisions (if you have children), current list of assets, Power of Attorneys, and beneficiaries. Make sure everything is current so that if anything happens to you during your vacation, you, your loved ones, and your legacy are protected. If you still need an estate plan, please schedule a consultation with our office and we can help start the process.
If you're traveling to visit family or simply having family over for a summer barbecue, and you've been meaning to talk to your older family members like your parents or in-laws about whether or not they have an estate plan, this might be the best time to bring it up. Financial conversations like this are never easy, but they become even more important as people age. What they have or haven't done in regard to estate planning not only affects them but you and your family, as you might be tasked with taking care of their estate or making medical decisions. Here are some tips to make that conversation go as smoothly as possible:
- Break the ice by mentioning your estate plan. Talk about why you created it, the steps you took, the protections it gives you, and how you feel about having one. This might give you a good segway into finding out if they have an estate plan and if it's current and comprehensive. If they have one, ask where the documents are so they can be accessed when needed.
- If they don't have an estate plan, the explanations and testimony you've given might pique their interest and give you a chance to encourage them to get one. You want the conversation to remain diplomatic, factual, and free of conflict, anger, or frustration. Remember to respect their boundaries and be a source of assurance, not pressure.
- Come prepared with a reference for an estate planning attorney who can assist them, and let them know you'll be available to help them in any way you can.
- Leave them with the knowledge that your main goals are that their wishes are documented, their assets are protected, their Power of Attorneys are in place, and that you know the location of their important documents when necessary.
We've curated a list of our articles that can further help you with your estate plan or give you pointers when discussing estate planning with your older family members:
- Choosing a guardian for your minor children
- Discussing estate planning with your parents
- The top 10 reasons to have an estate plan
- The top 10 estate planning mistakes
- How to store your estate plan
As always, we are here to help guide you through updating or creating your own estate plan or assisting your family members with theirs.