When you think estate planning, you probably don’t envision a discussion over Thanksgiving turkey. However, the holidays are one of the best opportunities for families to open up about financial decisions, expectations, and what the future holds. Here are a few reasons why.
Sometimes, the holidays are the only chance for family to be together in one place. This makes a discussion about estate planning a little easier, because you don’t have to coordinate a meeting around busy schedules. Even if there are family members who aren’t around for the holidays, you can try conferencing them via telephone or Internet.
When you have an in-person meeting, it is much easier to detect when someone is sensitive about financial matters. For example, if Mom and Dad are leading the conversation about estate plans and one child seems like they don’t want to open up, then the parents can identify who may or may not be best suited for roles like power of attorney.
Most likely, this initial discussion about your estate plans will not be the last. In fact, it is probably best for a holiday meeting to be generic, and for follow-up meetings to cover financial items in detail. But at least by starting the conversation over these festive family gatherings, everyone has first-hand knowledge of your ideas and plans. One tip: Let the family know beforehand that you want to talk about estate planning, rather than bringing it up casually over a glass of wine.
When you have that important talk with your family over the holidays, you will probably end up with questions you are unable to answer. The holiday discussion gives you and your family the opportunity to discover what those questions are, and then have the time to get answers from a reliable source, such as an estate planning attorney. The legal perspective can be an important component of the estate plan to ensure your family receives the financial support and family heirlooms you intended.