Solo and Small Firm Committee Chair with Jennifer Gomez Hardy, Esquire and Brad Shuttleworth, Esquire.

I know you are thinking, why would I discuss my planning with my family over the holidays? The answer to the question is yes because this is one time of year that multi-generations of families are together. The days when death was a hush-hush topic are over. Male heirs receiving everything is a dead concept.
So, how do you approach this subject at the Thanksgiving table or do you? To begin with, every family and conversation is different, but it is important that the conversation focuses on your family’s values. What does your family value? Did your family work hard to gather wealth? Does your family want to keep the house in the family for generations? Do you want to give away certain pieces of jewelry to loved ones? Or give to a charity? Or give larger monetary gifts to grandchildren over the holidays to save money on inheritance taxes? Frame these conversations to reflect these values and not focus on who gets what after someone passes away. This focus can cause tension and lead to delaying important conversations.
If you broach the subject and get stonewalled, the reality is that everyone has their limits. Some may feel more comfortable than others discussing their wishes, but others might be more private. For many reasons the person may not want to discuss their death.
But it is important to prepare your will, power of attorney and other documents because too many families lack of understating of how to preserve their wealth along with poor asset management can cause wealth dissipation. It is not bad luck.
Cost may be a factor, but consider giving a loved one a gift certificate for a will or for a consult with an attorney. In my office, we also prepare legacy letters and digital wills, in addition to your will that is formal in nature, we can create a personalized tape of your wishes to leave for loved ones.
Finally, think of all of this as your legacy and not as a death wish. We are all going to die someday and leaving turmoil and expense can be frustrating for all. Think carefully about how you communicate your after death plans to your children and loved ones. Aim for a “happy medium.”