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Talking about your estate plan, and remaining calm while doing so

Given the vast amount of financial information that estate plans contain, and given that estate plans require the grantor to make a lot of personal decisions about how that wealth is distributed and why, it is only natural for someone to feel uncomfortable about discussing their estate plan -- even with family members. Hanging over the entire topic is the prospect of the death of the grantor, which only makes it more difficult to talk about.

But it is a very important topic that absolutely must be discussed, multiple times, with your family members and beneficiaries. Not only can the talk foster new ideas for you to utilize in your estate plan, but also it can help your family members and beneficiaries better understand your approach to the estate plan.

Now, these talks can often get emotional and tense. Again, this is natural. Talking about an estate plan is an inherently personal and emotional task. So before you have the talk with your family, it is best to have a pre-discussion: get everyone on the same page and agree that everyone will remain calm while discussing the estate plan.

Even having that pre-discussion doesn't guarantee a smooth talk minutes later. So, as the grantor, it is important not to push your family members too hard or to be too forceful in making your point. Also, it can be reassuring to everyone involved if you mention that there will be more conversations in the coming weeks and months -- that the talk you are having now isn't the be all and end all of your estate plan.

There's a good chance that the conversation will go well, even if every little wrinkle or issue doesn't get resolved. But just having that discussion is a huge step for you, your family and your estate.

Source: aplaceformom.com, "Ways to Keep Emotions Out of Estate Planning," Kimberley Fowler, April 21, 2016

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