Are the Holidays a Good Time to Discuss Estate Planning in Michigan?

The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather to celebrate and connect. The conversations typically are upbeat and light. Discussions of death and incapacitation are typically not considered appropriate holiday topics. However, the holidays may be a great time for you to discuss your estate plans with your family for a variety of reasons.

Everyone Gathered in One Place

There may be a few times each year that your entire family gathers together. The holidays might be the only time that you have everyone you need in one place to discuss your estate plans.

While you can discuss estate plans with family members individually, it can be easier and less stressful to have one conversation about your plans for your estate, medical care, or incapacitation. Furthermore, discussing your estate plans with your entire family at the same time can reduce the risk of misunderstandings and arguments between family members. They all hear your plans at the same time and in the same manner. They can ask questions and gain clarity immediately instead of “comparing notes” after individual conversations or your death.

Tips for Discussing Estate Planning During the Holidays

Bringing up the topic of estate planning during the holidays can be challenging. Some tips to keep in mind include:

  • Timing is everything. You don’t want to begin discussing your desires for funeral arrangements or how you want to divide your property during present exchanges or holiday meals. Scheduling a time to discuss your estate plans with the adults, while the children are otherwise occupied, is typically better than springing the topic on them at a random moment.
  • Make the conversation about your family instead of your death or incapacitation. Make it clear that you created an estate plan because you love your family and desire to protect them. Your estate plan protects them by utilizing tools for asset protection, tax reduction, Medicaid planning, etc. Stress the benefits of having this conversation for everyone in the family.
  • Be clear that your estate plan is already in place, and you are simply telling your family members details of the plan. You are not meeting with them to discuss the terms of your estate plan. You only want them to know the details so they understand your wishes and desires and why you made the decision you made when creating the plan. If you desire input from your family members, be prepared for some disagreement as some family members may have a very different idea of how your estate plan should be structured.
  • Consult with your Michigan estate planning attorney to identify key elements of your estate plan to discuss with your family. Your lawyer can provide additional tips and suggestions for discussing estate planning during the holidays based on your unique situation in family dynamics.

By discussing your estate plans with your family, you can emphasize your family values and help your family understand your desire and philosophy for perpetuating your family’s legacy for generations to come. When discussing your estate plans with your family as a whole, you make each family member feel valued and part of the process.

You also decrease the chance of future family squabbles by leaving no elements of your estate plan to chance. You can also decrease the stress and worry that your family members might experience by expressing your desires and final wishes clearly. For instance, they are not left to wonder whether you wanted to be cremated or buried. They do not need to worry if they are making the decisions that you would be happy with after your death because you made all of your wishes and desires known to each family member.

Are You Ready to Create a Michigan Estate Plan?

The Michigan estate planning lawyers of The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry are ready to help. We can assist you in developing a comprehensive estate plan that addresses your desires, needs, and goals.

Call 888-390-4360 or use the contact form on our website to request a consultation with an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney near you.

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