When you are planning for the eventualities you may face when you reach an advanced age and eventual distribution of your assets after your passing, establishing clear communication with your family members is important. Families oftentimes pull together during shared difficulties, and though preparing for aging may seem as though it is not especially enjoyable it can in fact come along with a silver lining. If you bring your family members together in an effort to pragmatically prepare for the future you can actually help create a more resonant and cooperative family dynamic that will carry over after your eventual passing.
Every family is different and depending on the exact nature of yours how you go about this will vary. But there are a lot of things your family members should know when you’re planning your estate. It pays to address in advance obvious matters as well as some of the contingencies that go along with aging.
For example, it could be difficult to impossible to specifically state which family member you would like to see inherit each and every personal possession that you have. You may really not even know that a certain item is very meaningful to one of your relatives while another may have no special attachment to it at all. This is why it is not a bad idea to sit down and discuss the matter in an open and positive manner so that you have some insight when you are engaged in inheritance planning. If there is a conflict better to address it now by asking for their suggestions about how to resolve it rather than have the dispute cause lifetime acrimony after you are gone – a situation we unfortunately have seen happen all too often.
The same thing is true of planning for a time when you may need living assistance. It is not uncommon for family members to differ regarding the correct course of action when an elder needs this type of long-term care. It is best to just openly and honestly let your family members know how you feel so that they will all be on the same page going forward.
These are just a couple of things to keep in mind. If you open up this type of communication other issues may arise that can be resolved. Addressing them now increases the chances your legacy will include healthier and more loving relationships among your family members.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday