Whether you want to or not, inevitably conversations about Estate Planning, wills and inheritance come up during the holidays. Here are some tips to prepare for the sensitive estate planning conversations with your loved ones – parents or children – during the holidays. Discussing Estate Planning with your family is never easy. It is even more difficult during what should be a happy gathering during the holiday season.
Rip The Bandage Off And Start The Convo Yourself
You might be reluctant to discuss the inevitable with your parents, siblings or your own children. However, you can start the conversation yourself by ripping off the bandage. Simply bring up the topic of Estate Planning when sitting around the living room or even during Thanksgiving dinner. It might make a few people uncomfortable, but it will be worth it for everyone in the long run.
Talk About What You Hear In The News
The news is not always a great way to start a family discussion, but it can be in this circumstance. If you think your family would prefer to discuss Estate Planning if you start the conversation by mentioning a celebrity, then give it a try. You can mention anyone who recently died without their affairs in order, such as Prince, Chadwick Boseman, and Anne Heche. Or mention the drama and headlines by Naomi Judd’s choice of executor.
You might not want to talk about planning for illness and death with your family this holiday season, but the importance of having a will and estate plan in place is vital. Talk to a South Florida Estate Planning Attorney from The Siegel Law Group today to begin the planning process.
Slowly Move Into The More Traumatic Areas Of The Conversation
Jumping right into the meat and potatoes of Estate Planning might not be the best option for your family. If you know this, slowly move into the topic with easier discussions. For example, you can ask your parents what type of legacy they would like to leave their grandchildren. Or, you can have them list out some of their most precious heirlooms and how they would like them cared for after they are gone. Build up to the main event of creating a will.
Explain The Consequences Of Dying Without A Will In Florida
One of the best ways to get everyone’s attention with a topic of this magnitude is to explain what will happen if a family member dies without a will in Florida. If you die without a will, your property will pass to the closest living relatives as determined by the state. The Florida intestate laws are as follows:
- If you leave behind children and no spouse, the property goes to your children
- If you leave behind a spouse and no children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, your spouse receives all of your property
- If you have no spouse or other descendants and your parents are still alive, your parents inherit your property
- If you have no spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, but left behind siblings, your siblings receive your property
Talk About Estate Planning In A Comfortable Environment
Find a comfortable environment in which to have such a difficult conversation. For many families, this will be sitting around the dining room table during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or any other family dinner. For others, this could mean sitting around the fire pit with a cigar and a nice cocktail. For some, the environment could be going for a beach walk on a beautiful day. No matter your comfort level, make sure you find common ground when discussing Estate Planning during the holidays.
Have Questions Prepared
There is nothing wrong with being prepared to discuss Estate Planning with your family. In fact, you really should not go into this conversation blind. Prepare a list of questions to ask everyone you want to discuss this with so that you are not grasping at straws. Questions you might want ask include the following:
- Do you have a will? If so, does the executor know where to find it?
- Do you have life insurance? If so, does the executor know where to find it?
- Who will be responsible for your children?
- Do you want to be cremated or buried?
- What do you want a message engraved on your headstone?
- If you are being cremated, do you want your ashes spread anywhere?
- Do you want your social media accounts kept active or deleted?
- Do you want any charities supported in your honor?
- Do you want treatment to continue should you become terminally ill?
- Where would you like to be cared for if you become ill (home, hospital, nursing home)?
- Do you have power of attorney documents?
Speak With A South Florida Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you are ready to create a will, or have your current one altered, you should speak with an experienced South Florida Estate Planning attorney as soon as possible. Call the office of The Siegel Law Group, P.A., at 561-576-6206, or complete our contact form to schedule a complimentary consultation today.