- 2-Minute Article
- Oct 03, 2017
How to Start the Legacy Planning Talk with Your Family
Discussing your estate plan may be difficult, but the conversation can be simple. Let us help.
Your legacy is important. We believe creating
Ideally, legacy planning will be an ongoing dialogue. To help you get started, here are five essential topics to cover when you have the first conversation.
Sharing the details of your estate plan will help your family feel confident they can make the transition once they become responsible for enacting your legacy.
Start by sharing a complete picture of your assets — including cash, investments, and real estate — as well as debts. That way, everyone involved will understand the scope of your estate and potential actions they will have to take when they inherit it.
For example, is there
Prior to your conversation, assemble legacy planning documents, such as your will, living will, power of attorney, trust documents, and even stock certificates. Put them in an accessible location and tell your family where they can find them.
Explain to loved ones their responsibilities in making sure your legacy plan is carried out per your wishes. Discuss which family members will take on the roles of power of attorney, health care proxy, and executor.
Although directions will be laid out in your will, take this opportunity to explain the thinking that went into your legacy plan. Providing clear reasoning behind specific decisions, such as philanthropic gifts and guardianship of children, can help others avoid questions and uncertainty after your death. It can also help you pass on family values, such as a commitment to charitable giving.
Describe the measures you’ve taken to help protect your legacy. For example, you may have life insurance policies with cash value that can be tapped into in case you need expensive medical care, or policies that provide immediate cash upon your death to pay estate taxes or debts. Additionally, you may have annuities that will provide steady income to a spouse or others after your death.
Sharing the details of your legacy plan will help your family feel confident they can make the transition once they become responsible for enacting your legacy. Review your legacy plan with your financial advisor and attorney every few years or as live events happen to discuss necessary changes or updates.