“We need to talk.”
Whether it’s about defining the direction of a romantic relationship or teaching your child about the birds and the bees—these four short words often preclude an uncomfortable conversation.
In this case, the talk involves bringing your family up to speed on the details of your estate plan. It can be a sensitive subject, but getting over your initial apprehension can pay off in spades. For most of our clients, it delivers a sense of relief and peace of mind that everyone is on the same page. Your family members will most likely feel relieved when they become familiar with the fundamental elements and key relationships surrounding your estate plan.
Below is a list of topics to help you outline an agenda:
– Where are your assets held? i.e. bank; investment bank or custodian; plan administrator for retirement plans.
– Who are your key estate planning relationships? i.e. financial advisor, accountant, attorney, mortgage lender, insurance agent.
– Who have you named as estate executor?
– What important estate-planning documents do you have and where are they located? These documents could include trusts, a living will, last will and testament or powers of attorney.
– Do you have any medical directives? If so, what are they?
As with other talks about major transitions, a discussion about your estate plan can communicate your life’s vision and set the tone when the change takes place. A candid conversation can bring your family closer and forge deeper relationships. In the end, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the most important people in your life understand and appreciate your final wishes.