Why you should talk about estate planning with your family

Holidays are ideal time to discuss estate planning

The holidays can be an awkward time for many families but it’s also the best time to talk about estate planning because it might be the only time everyone gets together during the year.This makes it the best time to talk about your estate plan and how your property, real estate and other investments will be distributed in the unlikely event of your death.

First, make sure that only the family members you want to act as the executor or healthcare proxy are around. This is a meeting that only you and they should be in on, not in-laws and no young children should be involved in the discussion.

Once everyone is together, explain why it is important that they understand the decisions you made and what roles they have to play after your death.

First, show your family your will and testament

It helps everyone if you have spelled out your wishes beforehand. So use this time to let them know what type of funeral service you wish to have, whether you want to be cremated or buried, and even who you want your pallbearers to be.

Also tell them where your will and important documents are stored. As well as the list of contacts, like your lawyer, accountant and others, that you wish contacted after your death.

The instructions also can provide information about your financial accounts and activities.

Second, let them know their designated roles

Let your family know who you want to be you the executor of your will and provide them with the location of confidential or valuable items you may have put away for safekeeping.

Giving them access to spare keys and security codes; a copy of your will and advance directive; and anything else they may need to close your estate will help settle your estate or if it goes into probate.

Once you have that done, you should complete an advance directive. This is a legal form that outlines your wishes in the case you cannot make healthcare decisions on your own.
In 2017, Tennessee law combined the content found in a living will, advance directive and medical power of attorney into one form called an “Advance Directive for Healthcare.”

You can read up on Advance Directives in earlier blog posts.

Third, get ready to argue

These can all be touchy subjects for any family to talk about. It can be uncomfortable and emotional. Not everyone will be disappointed and argumentative. That all depends on your family.

But these are important things for everyone to know and it’s better than arguing about politics. 

For questions regarding estate planning laws, contact the Law Office of Michael Craig and we’ll be glad to assist you.