On November 10, 2015

How to Start a Conversation about Estate Planning

How to Start a Conversation about Estate Planning

Developing an estate plan inherently involves conversations about money and death, two sensitive topics that can be uncomfortable to discuss – even among close loved ones. Having these conversations, however, is critical because it can:

  • Clarify the grantor’s intentions (with the grantor being the person who has made the estate plan) – Although an estate plan can include various details about powers of attorney and future asset distribution wishes, it may not necessarily reveal the grantor’s underlying wishes or reasons for including certain provisions in an estate plan. For instance, certain assets may be passed on to carry on a family tradition or to help fund an education. Having a discussion about an estate plan can help relay these intentions to beneficiaries.
  • Reveal whether there is a willingness to participate in the estate  administration process – Specifically, estate planning conversations can shed light on whether certain loved ones would want to or be capable of serving as an agent, executor and/or personal representative in the future. For the grantor, understanding this upfront can be essential to choosing the right person to settle his or her estate in the future.
  • Prepare families for estate plan contingencies – While there may be various contingencies in estate plans, a common one is what will happen in the event that the grantor becomes incapacitated. Discussing these situations can be critical to making sure that everyone is on the same page about what will occur in such situations. And a mutual understanding can be comforting to all involved.
  • Empower families – While estate planning conversations can encourage other family members to develop and discuss their own estate plans, these discussions can also help everyone take more control of the future (rather than feeling as though everything will be left to chance).

Getting the Estate Planning Conversation Started

When you are ready to discuss estate planning or the specifics of your estate plan with your loved ones, here are some help tips for initiating the conversation:

  • Time your conversation appropriately – Start the discussion when everyone can be fully focused. Avoid having estate planning conversations when there may be other significant stresses or crises occurring.
  • Choose a comfortable environment for the discussion – A comfortable, welcoming setting for estate planning conversations can help people open up and be more receptive to talking about touchy topics.
  • Preface the talk with the importance of the conversation – If everyone involved in the discussion understands just why it’s happening – and why it needs to happen, it’s far more likely that they will be open to making the discussion as positive and productive as possible.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to develop, revise or administer an estate plan, you can turn to the Denver estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. Contact us today by calling (303) 741-2400 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning