The holidays are the time of year that families gather and enjoy spending time together. While most of the year, estate planning does not cross most people's minds, it is important to start estate planning conversations during the holidays. If you do not plan ahead for your estate, you could hurt those who you wish to benefit from your estate. While no one wants to think about such serious topics, the holiday present a great opportunity to ensure that all of your loved ones know your wishes. If you are interested in making sure you cover all of the important topics regarding your estate plan with your loved ones over the holidays, consider visiting with an estate planning attorney at SB Estate Planning and Elder Law.
Types of Estate Planning Documents
The estate planning process starts with discussing what items are needed to be transferred into a trust or will. This may include cash, bank accounts, investment accounts, life insurance policies, vehicles, real estate properties, digital assets, antiques and collectibles.
It is also important to discuss personal property like artwork (paintings), jewelry (watches), family heirlooms and other special items that have significant value.
Digital assets are also important to consider. Digital assets can include cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and other digital currencies, and they can also include anything stored digitally. This can include digital photographs, passwords, frequent flyer miles, and web domain names. Read our article about cryptocurrency and estate planning.
Tips For Having an Estate Planning Conversation Over the Holidays
There is a time and place for every conversation, including that of estate planning with your loved ones. Consider the following tips for having a conversation regarding your estate plan over the holidays.
Make the Conversation Lighthearted
There is no reason that a conversation about estate planning needs to be somber and morose. Rather, consider bringing up recent celebrity deaths, or certain persons who are elderly that are in the public eye. At some point in the conversation, you can transition to your own wishes in a comfortable way without making the conversation dreadful and filled with sadness.
Prepare Documents Beforehand
If you are considering having a conversation with your loved ones over the holidays regarding your estate plan, make sure that you come prepared. Consider visiting with the experienced estate planning attorneys at Kushner Legal to ensure that you have thought of all types of estate planning documents. You may want to consider drafting more than just a Last Will and
Testament. Consider special needs trusts, pet trusts, advance medical directives, and power of attorney documents if they apply in your specific situation. Having these documents prepared in advance can make the conversation during the holiday quicker and easier.
Identify the Location of Your Documents
If you create or update any estate planning documents, make sure to include where these documents are located so that all of your important family members know where to look in the event of your death. When a loved one dies, the family is often filled with grief and knowing where these legal documents are can take some of the overwhelm out of a sad situation.
Remind Your Family That the Estate Planning Conversation Is Ongoing
While it is important to let your wishes be known, it is important to also tell your family that you may modify your estate planning documents in the future depending on the facts and circumstances of your life.
Consider Carefully When to Have the Estate Planning Conversation
You may want to consider when you will actually have the conversation about estate planning with your family. If you believe it will be an easy conversation, perhaps the time to have it is before the festivities begin so that it is out of the way. However, if you believe that it may lead to an adversarial conflict within the family, it may be best to wait until nearly the end of the visit to ensure that the holiday is not ruined due to conflict and disagreements.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today
The holidays are fast approaching. If you believe it may be time to have the estate planning conversation with your family, you should consider visiting with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible to ensure you understand all of your legal options to present them to your family and beneficiaries. Consider contacting our team at Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law today by calling (805)946-1550.