Communicating may be the hardest part of estate planning

You may be ready to put together your estate plan. However, like others here in Lake Charles, you aren't keen on discussing what you want to happen after your death with your family. Most people are uncomfortable discussing their own death and their family members don't want to do it either.

However, in order to help make sure that everyone understands your wishes and knows why you want to make certain decisions, you will need to talk about it. Doing so could keep family members from ending up in unnecessary conflicts regarding your estate.

Compelling reasons to talk about it

If you need reasons to sit down with your family to discuss your estate plan, consider the following:

  • You want to make sure your loved ones know what you want. Otherwise, they will make it up as they go along based only on what they think, not what you think.
  • You may want to appoint a certain person to serve as your executor, your trustee or in any other capacity, but if you fail to discuss it with that individual, your estate could end up in disarray. You need to make sure that the person you want to serve in any capacity in your estate plan actually wants to do it.
  • If everyone knows what you want, there shouldn't be any second-guessing your intentions when the time comes.
  • You give your loved ones time to figure out how a particular inheritance could affect their finances, such as the potential for owing taxes, maintenance fees and insurance premiums.
  • You can explain how you want the assets of your estate to benefit not just your children but future generations as well.

In addition to discussing what happens upon your death, you can also discuss what you want to happen if you become incapacitated due to an illness or injury. You may not want certain medical treatments at the end of your life, and no one will know that unless you talk about it.

Finding a way to start the conversation

With the holidays around the corner, now might be a good time to begin preparing for this admittedly difficult conversation. This may be the only time of year that everyone is together. It may seem odd to sit around the dinner table celebrating the holidays and talk about estate planning, but it may be your only option. If you are fortunate enough to have such gatherings more often, then you may want to take advantage of one of them.

In any case, if you need further advice regarding how to discuss this issue with your family, you could consult with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

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