The family often times travels great distances to see each other, perhaps even if it is only once or twice a year. Stories are told, family members catch up on the happenings in each other’s lives. Many times during these conversations a parent or grandparent may hint towards estate planning concerns – becoming incapacitated one day, funeral arrangements, what will happen to Nana’s wedding China. We all hear these comments when it comes to family time. But this is the perfect opportunity to have one of the most important conversations you can have with your family members. Mostly because they are already thinking about “what will happen when…” during the holidays. Because it is a difficult conversation to have, and you certainly do not want to run into conflict, below are some tips on bringing up that conversation.

1. Showcase your own experiences with having an estate plan created and how you realized the importance of having a plan in place. Perhaps even explain one of your power of attorney designations, and explain that is the person whom you have chosen to take care of your affairs in the event you cannot do so one day. The relief you have will be felt by others through your example.

2. Explain any concern you may have about conflict amongst siblings. That is why it is important for the parents to have a plan in place so everyone understands what is going to happen upon incapacity, and death.

3. Knowing family dynamics is a powerful tool. If there is one family member who has more weight with a particular individual, get them in on the conversation beforehand and have them help broach the conversation. After all, it is all about the family and one plan will have a great effect on many members.

4. Become informed and provide relevant information. For example, if someone in your family just had a baby, explain that a will is the only document in Arizona where you can designate a guardian for your child in the event of the parent’s passing. Or if someone is talking about having a will, explain that a simple will is not going to help avoid probate. One reason why probate should be avoided is because it is a legal proceeding therefore, any information becomes public knowledge.

Sometimes it takes a leader in the family to initiate a much needed conversation. There is a tactful way to have that conversation, where you avoid hurt feelings and conflict. This holiday season, take just a few minutes to have that important chat and when it comes from a place of sincerity, your loves ones will feel closer and more at ease.

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