How Family Meetings Can Help the Estate Planning Process

Family Meeting Tips

estate planning tipsCongratulations, you have finished the estate planning process! You made the hard decisions, your documents are signed, your trust is funded, and your plan is in place. It’s all done with, right?

Not yet. The next crucial step in the process is explaining the plan to your family. You don’t want to leave them with any questions.

1. Loop Your Attorney In

Ask your estate planning attorney to attend the meeting if you are not comfortable explaining the details. It will also be helpful to get your family familiar with your advisers so that they will have an easier time working with them later.

2. Set an Agenda

Make sure you cover your objectives, purposes, plans, and expected outcomes. These meetings can get a little emotional, so it is important to have a set list of topics to cover. This will help you stay focused during the meeting.

3. Choose Your Location Wisely

Choose an appropriate location for the meeting, preferably somewhere quiet and relaxing. Don’t try to hold the meeting in a restaurant or public area.

4. Plan a Convenient Time

Select a date that is convenient for everyone. If you are planning to have this discussion during a traditional family gathering time, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, just be mindful about the nature of the discussion and try not to spoil the joyous nature of a holiday.

5. Prepare Your Family

Let everyone know the schedule of the meeting ahead of time. A couple of hours should be enough time to discuss everything.

6. Adults Only is Best

Limit the meeting to adults. Have everyone arrange for childcare so that you have the parents’ full attention.

7. Be Ready for Emotional Responses

Expect a certain level of anxiety and emotion as the meeting begins. It can be emotional at first due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. As the meeting progresses, it will usually lead to understanding and acceptance.

8. Offer an Open Forum

Make sure to encourage discussion and questions so that everyone is comfortable and understands your plan and why you chose that route. The more they know, the better off they will be.

Having a well-planned, well-run family meeting is essential in preventing misunderstandings and confusion in the future. Though it may be hard and emotionally taxing to discuss these topics with your loved ones, it is an important step in securing their futures.

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