Once we finish our own estate plan, we often then start to think about whether our parents and other older family members have also finished their estate plan. However, it can be awkward conversation, but it does not have to be.
Focus on the reasons for an estate plan and the peace of mind it provides
The first step in ensuring that the estate planning conversation is not awkward is to make it about the loved one, not about the person bringing up the subject. Most older family members worry about end-of-life decisions and supporting their kids, grandkids, nephews, etc. But, they may worry about the time, effort and cost associated with an estate plan.
This is why we must emphasize that an estate plan can solve these worries and give them peace of mind to know that their wishes will be honored after the pass. It also will ensure that, if they become incapacitated, their end-of-life wishes will also be honored.
Ensuring the largest inheritance and avoiding fights over it
A lot of our family members, especially when everyone is in a good place and getting along, believe that after they pass, their heirs can “work it out” amicably. However, as just a passing glance at daytime TV shows, without a legally enforceable estate plan, there will very likely be fighting.
We seldom know what our loved one’s treasure, and a huge legal fight could ensue over seemingly small items, like jackets, rings, furniture, etc. After all, we do not know what we do not know, until we know, and we cannot get that knowledge without talking about an estate plan. This means asking heirs what they treasure and delineating exactly what one wants those heirs to inherit. This avoids fights later, which can escalate and destroy relationships and wealth.
Now that one has convinced their loved one that an estate plan is needed, gone over what they want and, perhaps, even spoken to other family member about what they treasure, it is time to call in professional help, i.e., an estate planning attorney. For South Weymouth, Chelmsford, Franklin and Brockton, Massachusetts, residents, the attorney is the one that makes those plans into a legally enforceable estate plan.