When deciding your estate plan, there are many things you have to think about. Choosing the right plan, executing and organizing the documents, and meeting with your attorney are all part of the job of planning what will happen to your estate. But one thing that is integral to the process is often the one reason you want to plan in the first place: your family. Even though you’re in the director’s chair it can still be a difficult conversation to broach. At the same time knowing how to talk to your family about your estate plan can be an important step in creating the plan itself, so it has its benefits too.
Everyone has a different reality when it comes to planning their estate with their family. You may be thinking of doing what most do, leaving everything to your spouse and children, or your situation may be a little more nuanced and complex than that. Regardless of what you have in mind for your estate, involving your family in the decision making process can be a tricky thing. It’s important to really consider if, and how you want to involve your family when you are working with your estate planning attorney to plan for your future.
First, Do You WANT to Involve Your Family in Your Estate Plan?
First things first, ask yourself if you want your family to be involved. It is completely okay if you don’t, and a lot of people choose not to have their family involved in the decision making process. Ultimately, this is a process that only involves your assets: you have complete control over where they go and how they get there, and you have a right to hold that conversation how you would like to. If that means it remains a private conversation between you and your estate planning attorney, that is completely okay, regardless of your distribution decisions.
Sometimes, people may choose to avoid conversations with family members because of the choices they are making with their estate. Conversations regarding what you choose to leave behind, if anything, for your family members can be difficult. You have the ability to choose to keep your family uninformed of your decisions regarding your estate. If you decide that, the process and decisions made can remain completely confidential between you and your estate planning attorney until the time comes when your family members need to be notified.
Strategies for Involving Your Family in Your Estate Plan
If you want to involve your family, there are absolutely ways that you can do so. One way is to bring them right into the room and involve them in the conversation with your estate planning attorney. Doing this allows everyone to have a say, and to be able to give their opinion on what they think should be done with your estate. Hopefully, at the end of the day, you can make a decision that has all of your family members support. Even if not everyone is on board with the decision you make, it might be important for you to hear the opinions of your loved ones about what should be done with your estate.
When involving your family members’ input and opinions, it is vital to remember that, in decisions regarding your estate, you have the final say. You can listen and take as many ideas as you want from family members, but what happens to your assets is ultimately your decision. You can also decide just how involved you want your family to be. Whether you want your loved ones there for the entire process, or only there to hear out their opinions, you are in control of the situation. You decide who is there, for how long, and you choose what to listen to.
Family can be one of the most important things in our lives. Your family might even be the driving force in deciding to create an estate plan for your assets. If you choose to involve your family in your estate planning process, there are ways to ensure your family is able to give their input. You can decide together, and execute the plan as a team.
If you decide not to include your family, remember that you still have the guidance and advice of your attorney to help you. Even if you choose to make these decisions without familial input, you are not alone in this process. You have complete control over what you decide to do, and you have the final say on what happens to your assets.