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In the U.S., it is common for people to have concerns about discussing their estate planning. As such, many families do not practice open communication about what will happen when they die, as well as, other financial related issues. As you grow older, you might feel the need to talk with your loved ones about your estate, but are unsure about how to do so. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable talking about death or incapacitation. On the other hand, you might be the adult child of parents who are aging and would like to gain a better understanding of what you can expect. However, you might not want to create the impression that you are anticipating, albeit eager, to inherit from your parents. In either situation, feelings of awkwardness and discomfort can arise; thereby resulting in ignoring the topic altogether.
Still, talking about your estate is too important to ignore. As an estate planning lawyer, we encourage open, honest conversation between family members to ensure everyone knows what to expect. By being proactive about your estate planning and any associated communication, you can feel reassurance in knowing your loved ones will be better equipped to remain focused upon your death or incapacitation.
Advice for Discussing Your Estate
The following are bits of advice provided by our estate planning lawyers. Ideally, this advice will help to open productive communication with your children, parents, or other loved ones.
Know Who Your Family Is: Some families will be very open about medical issues, finances, and other subjects that may be considered personal. While other families may be formal and keep any and all personal information to themselves. Only you know where you, and perhaps your loved ones, fall into this spectrum. As you prepare to talk about your estate, you should take this into account when raising the topic.
Plan in Advance: Estate planning goes well beyond the drafting of a will or trust. There are other components that must be considered and can be discussed in extensive detail with an estate planning lawyer. You should educate yourself about these components, such as power of attorney and health care directives, so as to protect you and your loved ones.
Carefully Choose the Time and Place: When it comes to communicating about your estate, this is not a topic that should be spontaneously raised either through casual conversation or right after a crisis. Doing so can lead to knee-jerk reactions and poor decision making. Anyone involved in the conversation should be able to focus solely on what is being said, whilst in a comfortable, private environment.
Prepare to Continue the Conversation: Regardless of how prepared you might be, there is little chance that all conclusions will be made in one conversation. Rather, the initial conversation will help you to understand where things are at and what your priorities might be. More than likely, your loved ones will need time to think about what has been discussed. If, for example, you would like to appoint someone to make medical decisions, this may need to be thought about by those who are suited to the role. You will also want to seek advice from an estate planning lawyer, and possibly other people, such as an accountant or financial planning.
Choose the Right Estate Planning Lawyer
An estate lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer in Allentown, PA, can be an invaluable resource while you plan your estate.
Thank you to the experts at Klenk Law for their input into estate planning, wills, and trusts.