After all of things that have happened over the past year and a half, the one thing that most of us have come to the realization of is that we all need an estate plan. And, we need one now. Unfortunately, not everyone in our family may have discovered this, so many of our readers are likely trying to figure out how they can convince their loved ones to make an estate plan.
Step 1: Broach the subject
The first and, maybe, hardest step is just broaching the subject with the loved one. It is entirely possible that the loved on already has an estate plan, and if that is the case, talk about it. Make sure it has end-of-life planning and was drafted by a professional, like an attorney. Remember, unless the estate plan is legally enforceable, it will still be up to a probate judge how one’s assets are divided, and they do not have to follow the deceased person’s wishes. Conversely, if one has not developed an estate plan, the following steps will help convince them to establish one.
Step 2: Make the conversation about their wants and needs
When discussing an estate plan, it is important to focus on them. Specifically, focus on their wants and needs. Understand what they want to happen medically, if they cannot make decisions for themselves. Think about what they want to pass on to their family and who will get what, and if there is a big disparity, find out why because that will be very important after they pass. Often, part of an estate plan is a letter that is read after one passes that allows an explanation for why they chose to do what they did in the estate plan.
Really listen to what they are saying, and encourage them to be open and honest. Remember, this is about them.
Step 3: Find out if they have worries, and focus on how this can solve them
Most older family members, like our parents, worry about their heirs, including their children and grandchildren. They also may worry that they will spend years in hospice care or receive some other type of medical care they do not want. Focus on these worries and how an estate plan can solve them, giving them true piece of mind.
Step 4: Contact a professional
Once one’s loved one has decided to create an estate plan, it is time to seek professional help, like from a Lutherville, Maryland, estate planning attorney. The attorney will make sure that the estate plan is legally enforceable, and they can fill in any gaps.