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Making Sense Out of Dollars

How do you discuss end of life issues with family?

Joel Lerner, Columnist
Posted 7/16/21

After discussing wills, trusts, and the concept of inheritance after your passing, I urge you to have a meeting with your family and discuss your financial plans.

The benefits of having a dialogue …

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Making Sense Out of Dollars

How do you discuss end of life issues with family?

Posted

After discussing wills, trusts, and the concept of inheritance after your passing, I urge you to have a meeting with your family and discuss your financial plans.

The benefits of having a dialogue about estate planning within your family don’t stop at asset protection and an accurate understanding of intentions. Such an open dialogue can:

• Bring your family a sense of empowerment, that you are taking control of each other’s collective future rather than leaving some elements to chance.

• Pass on family values.

• Help your family develop a common understanding and a common philosophy for how you and your family’s legacy will be carried out through generations.

• Help prepare the family in the event you or another family member becomes incapacitated.

• Help other members of your family—your parents, your siblings, or your children— develop a responsible plan.

• Allow your family to take advantage of some of the best tax strategies.

How to get the conversation started

Despite how important this conversation can be, it may still be difficult to initiate. There is certainly more than one right way to begin a dialogue; however, here are a few suggestions to help guide you:

• Pick a positive, comfortable environment during a period of relative calm. Don’t wait until a time of crisis when it may be too late to make adequate plans and family members may not feel emotionally able to talk.

• Be sincere about your intentions. Be clear that you are initiating these talks out of concern that proper plans are in place and are understood.

• Stress the importance and benefits of this conversation to everyone affected. One way to do this is to show an example of an estate that was improperly handled because family members had failed to discuss their plans with each other.

Sometimes to be effective the conversation may need to extend beyond your immediate household.

As an adult child make sure your parents have their own plans and will be properly cared for if one of them passes away or becomes incapacitated.

As a parent, make sure your children have an understanding of your plans and wishes; if the children are still minors, make sure the appointed guardians are willing and clear of your intentions.

As a grandparent or other relative, ensure your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., will be taken care of through your own estate planning as well as coordinating with their parents on their plans’ too.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

*Never say never and always avoid always.

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