When creating an estate plan, people are often most concerned with passing on the “big things” like real estate, bank accounts, and vehicles. Yet these possessions very often aren’t the items that have the most meaning for the loved ones we leave behind.
Smaller items, like family heirlooms and keepsakes, which may not have a high dollar value, frequently have the most sentimental value for our family members. But for a number of reasons, these personal possessions are often not specifically accounted for in wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents.
However, it’s critical that you don’t overlook this type of property in your estate plan, as the distribution of such items can become a source of intense conflict and strife for those you leave behind. In fact, if you don’t properly address family heirlooms and keepsakes in your estate plan, it can lead to long-lasting disagreements that can tear your family apart....
Vacations and Holidays Are the Perfect Time for Families to Talk About Estate Planning
If you are spending the upcoming holiday with older family members, this is actually a great opportunity to talk about planning with them. While there are few “perfect” times to talk with parents about their estate plan, the relaxed times you spend together on vacation or downtime during the holidays can be one of them. You have the benefit of having everyone together sitting down in one place. So take advantage of that!
Here are some tips on how to bring up this critical conversation:
Find a good place to start.
One of the best ways to ease your parents into a financial discussion is to bring up your own. Tell your parents that you were looking into your own estate plan and wondering if they had already executed their own. You can let them know that you have learned that the different types of plans require very different levels of effort from the executor and cost from...
Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up to date? No matter how much you think you and your parents do or don't have, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to be asking these and several other questions. When your parents become incapacitated or die, their affairs will become your responsibility, and it will be impossible to ask them to clarify anything. So, if you don't know whether or not they have estate planning in place that will help you best support them, let us help you figure it out!
The Best-Case Scenario
In a best-case scenario, your parents have an updated estate plan, and they’ve walked you through it. They have provided an inventory of their assets that’s easy for you to find listing out everything they own, how it’s titled, and who it should go to and how. Ideally, it also includes directions on how to handle their non-monetary assets, and an audio recording or written stories that pass on their values,...