One of the most common mistakes people make in their estate planning is failing to communicate their wishes to their family. Below are three conversations you should have with your family to ensure that your estate is handled according to your wishes.
Conversation #1: Who will care for you in case of incapacitation.
No one wants to think about becoming incapacitated, but the truth is that anyone can have an accident or illness that leaves them unable to care for themselves. You need to discuss with all family members what your wishes are in case something unfortunate occurs. You should also speak with the person you want to carry out your wishes and confirm that they’re up for the task.
Conversation #2: The location of your will and other important documents.
You should let two to three people know where your will and other important documents are located. Even if you have written instructions, you should discuss with your loved ones what they need to do in case of your death or incapacitation.
Conversation #3: The care of your children or other dependents.
Inform your family of who you have chosen to care of your children in case of your death or incapacitation. Go over the details of how you expect the children to be raised and any other important instructions. Also put the instructions in writing. If you’re ill and expecting to pass away soon, you should also discuss with your children/dependents (in an age appropriate manner) what will happen once you pass away. Don’t forget to help the child adjust to their potential new guardian by allowing them to spend time with that person.
Having the right conversations about your wishes is a sure way to help everyone transition after you pass. It’s hard for all of us to approach the subject, but can alleviate so many worries and misunderstanding if your family is properly prepared. I’ll be here every step of the way as you think through your plans, and encourage you to call me with questions.