It’s hard to even think about what would happen to your family if something happened to you. While it’s a difficult thing to think about, one of the most important and loving things that we can do for our loved ones is to think about this reality and plan in advance. Most people have difficulty initiating this important conversation with those that they love, but here are some ideas on getting this important dialogue going:
1.) Make sure your loved one understands what’s at stake: Most people don’t want to talk about what’s at stake because they don’t want to confront their own mortality, but make sure your loved one really understands what’s at stake here. It might be uncomfortable for them, but do they realize what life is going to be like for their loved ones if they don’t have a plan in place? Does your family member understand that estate planning is also making sure that we know what they want to happen if they are still alive, but just unable to communicate or carry out their financial and health care choices? Do they understand that if they don’t have a plan, it will be the court that will make decisions for themselves and their family? While it may be uncomfortable to talk about this subject, confronting the inevitable is one of the most loving things we can do for those that we love.
2.) Use examples and cautionary tales: In our practice, in order to educate people on the importance of moving forward with their planning, we use real examples of families that got it wrong so they can understand the importance of having a plan that works when their family needs it. Because our firm also practices in the area probate law, we see examples every day where someone has passed away without a plan or had a plan that was insufficient and caused a great deal of unnecessary stress for their loved ones. Do you have your own examples that you can use with your loved ones so that you can demonstrate the importance of planning? If so, don’t be afraid to use them to illustrate the importance of having a plan that works. If you don’t have any examples to use, feel free to show your loved one this amazing documentary, Black Heirlooms.
3.) Focus on the benefits: Make sure your loved one understands that not only will their family benefit from proper planning, but they will too! I love what I do because my practice gives me the opportunity to provide something that you can’t put a price tag on - peace of mind! Once I have helped clients prepare their estate plans, many of them are relieved to know that if something does happen, they have done what's necessary to protect themselves, their family and their legacy. Stress the positive end result as this might motivate your loved one to take action and not wait.
Our firm strives to make this sometimes uncomfortable process of planning an easy one. If you are having trouble initiating the conversation with your loved one, register for one of our free workshops and bring them with you! They will leave knowing exactly what to do to move forward on this very important task.