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How to talk to your loved ones about your estate plans

Estate planning is not an easy topic to address, whether you are thinking about creating a will, funding a trust or making plans in case you are incapacitated. You are not alone if you feel overwhelmed at the prospect. Many Nevadans unnecessarily put off their estate planning, and some find it awkward to bring it up to their relatives.

However, it is important to at least have a will outlining your basic wishes, so you do not leave your relatives wondering what to do with the assets you leave behind – and so your estate does not get tied up in probate. Furthermore, talking about your wishes while you are still alive and well may go a long way toward keeping the peace among your family members when you are no longer able to dictate “who gets what” and “what goes where.”

Fortunately, talking to your family about your wishes may be easier than you think. A good time to bring it up is during a time when everyone in the family is together, such as during the holidays. However, any time of year should be fine to call an important family meeting. You might get the conversation started with the following tips:

  • Make a list of valuable family items that you want to give away for your loved ones to remember you by, such as cherished heirlooms, jewelry, furniture and photo albums. Encourage your relatives to calmly and respectfully decide who gets each item, and try to keep the division fair and equal.
  • Let your family members know how you plan to divide or sell your assets and distribute the funds. Be open to listening to their side.
  • If you have a plan for what happens if you are no longer able to make legal decisions yourself, make sure your family members know your wishes.
  • Discuss who you plan on naming as an executor of your will, as well as your reasons for doing so. For example, naming your eldest child is usually traditional and might prevent resentment.

It is important to preserve family harmony, even after you are gone. Having this conversation sooner, rather than later, may give you peace of mind.

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Solomon Dwiggins & Freer, Ltd.
9060 West Cheyenne Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89129

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