With the holidays upon us, people are busy scheduling family visits and trying to maximize their time with family. This family time is invaluable for estate planning purposes. While it is understandable people do not want to focus on their death or the death of a loved one during the holidays, the time together provides the opportunity for candid discussions about estate planning.
Death is inevitable but how your family will handle your death or the death of another family member is difficult to predict. Open communication prior to death can remove hostility, anger, and bitterness after a loved one dies. If you know a child may be bothered by an estate planning decision you made and you know you are going to spend some quality time together this month, then now may be the most appropriate time to share your thought process and to explain your decision. If you feel uncomfortable discussing the decision with your child, then perhaps you should write him or her a letter explaining your decisions and leave it with your estate planning documents. This will provide an explanation for your child and may provide some peace of mind for both you and your child.
After a client has a discussion about their estate plan with his or her family, the client often feels a sense of relief. The child may provide another new idea that would appease all the parties involved or the child may be grateful for the explanation. Either way, the client feels confident in their estate plan.