If you want to keep peace with friends and family members, there’s an old adage: Never talk about politics or religion. We actually believe there’s another adage to add to the mix: If you want to see family members fight to the point of never speaking to each other again, don’t discuss your estate plan with them.
There’s something about dividing the estate of a family member that has passed away that turns the most loving of families into hateful combatants. We’re positive that you don’t want that to happen to your family after you’re gone.
The most obvious way to solve this potential problem before it occurs is to discuss your estate plan with your family. But, you may be surprised how difficult it is for many to initiate this conversation.
Here are three steps you can take before, and during the conversation, to help it go smoothly.
If you take a little time to prepare, the conversation about your estate plan can actually be easy.
Your first job is to make sure you match the right person for the job. You’ll need an executor, guardians, trustees, and a power of attorney. These can be demanding positions, and giving the responsibility to the wrong people can prove disastrous.
Too many times, the jobs are given based on emotion. You may have an urge to make your oldest child the executor, but if they are bad at gathering assets, prepare paperwork, handle finances, and deal with potential disputes, then you are just inviting trouble.
Next, before your family meeting, work with your attorney and prepare the necessary paperwork. At Stone Legal Group, PLLC in Louisville, we help our clients make the best decisions possible, and commit them to writing.
Then be ready to answer questions. Will one child be upset that you made another sibling the executor? You must be prepared to give them a thoughtful, and valid, reason why you made the decision. This answer could go a long way towards reducing any hard feelings.
2. Come Prepared For Business
Once your family is seated at the table, you’ll need to let them know what your decisions are. But equally important is that you remind them that they are family, and they need to support you, and each other.
Make sure to have your paperwork organized. They will undoubtedly have questions, and you will need to answer them with confidence. This is a hard topic to discuss, and someone may have a tough time getting onboard. Just remind them, and yourself, that this is your life and assets, and it is ultimately your decision.
3. Remember the Goal
The family meeting is not just a time to present them with legal documents. It’s an opportunity to help them understand your intentions, and to buy-in with the overall estate plan.
Using these three steps can go along way to keeping the peace after you are gone.
Contact Stone Legal Group today, we can help answer all of your questions.