How to Talk to Your Family About Future Plans

Summertime brings long hot days spent relaxing by a pool with a wonderful book in your hand. The kids are out of school and there’s a carefree attitude in the air. Many people plan vacations and attend family reunions to visit with people they haven’t seen in months. Seeing your family grow and change is exciting but it should also be a reminder to keep plans updated. Aging grandparents, parents, or aunts and uncles should create or update their estate plans and long-term care plans.

Many people are resistant to having a conversation about estate planning or long term care plans but it’s important to talk to your loved ones so they will know what to do when the time comes. Follow the four steps below to help avoid any conflicts and to make the conversation go smoothly so you can get back to soaking up the sun.

Step 1

Set a time. Sometimes the most difficult part is scheduling the family meeting. If everyone lives in different cities, find an event or occasion where you will all be together and schedule the time then. (Organizing a special dinner might be an incentive especially if everyone lives nearby.)

Step 2

Set an agenda—even if it’s informal. The conversation can change directions so it’s a good idea to try and follow an outline. It can be helpful if the person conducting the family meeting prepares notes so everyone knows what has already been discussed and what is still to come.

Step 3

Not everyone will agree or might be surprised that a family member has expectations for them so be prepared for issues that may arise. Once the plan has been laid out and modified if necessary, then go around the table and ask each person for their verbal commitment to support the plan.

Step 4

It could be years before this plan goes into effect so make sure and put it in writing! It’s easy to forget conversations as soon as they happen so be sure and jot down some notes.  Be sure all relevant advisors such as attorneys, insurance agents and financial planners are consulted to update the plan accordingly.

No one enjoys thinking about long-term care but it’s important that we all have a plan in place.

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Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham

Debbie Cunningham is an Irving attorney providing affordable estate planning to the Dallas/ Fort-Worth areas. She understands the steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Debbie is family-focused and wants to ensure her clients are fully informed on the options that are available for their families. Debbie’s own blended family has given her valuable insights into the complexities of family dynamics.

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