Estate planning is a family activity. Getting the entire family together can be difficult. People have their own lives involving work, school, family activities, and other time-consuming obligations. Family gatherings such as holiday parties and picnics can be the perfect setting for an estate planning discussion to take place. This article has several tips to make these meetings flow seamlessly.
Family gatherings hold a special place in many of our hearts. Reconnecting with family members we haven’t seen in years, reminiscing about joyous memories over the years, remembering those who’ve passed in recent years, introducing children to new cousins. These reunions often take place during the major holidays including Easter, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Having these reunions can be very positive for families as it allows people to slow down and really take in what’s most important to them. Family gatherings also happen to be an excellent place to discuss estate planning.
Whether a family is two people or sixty people, making an estate plan can be an intense process and there are many possible constituents worth consulting, especially within an extended family. While some families are closer than others, it is uncommon for entire families to all congregate at once so it is important to take advantage of these opportunities as they arise. The items that should be discussed regarding your estate vary widely. Every family is different – different environments, different social dynamics, different levels of comforts sharing intimate knowledge. In most instances, there is no need to share dollar amounts and other critical personal information at these meetings, but an important thing you must weigh is whether or not to share certain information that may cause controversy. In some instances, information may be worth hiding, but it opens the door to accusations and conflict later than can majorly complicate estate planning. A good baseline is to share the information that’s necessary for everyone in the group to understand, without oversharing.