You are probably talking with your family and loved ones a lot more these days. You may even be living together under one roof. During these times, we are reminded of just how important our relationships can be. As we grow older, we begin to realize how precious little time we have to spend with one another.
Using this time to talk about estate planning is vital for ensuring you and your loved ones will be provided and cared for no matter what happens. Death and incapacity can be uncomfortable subjects to discuss. However, with a comprehensive plan in place, you will almost certainly experience a huge sense of relief and peace knowing this critical task has been discussed and documented.
Although you might not realize it, estate planning also has the potential to enhance your relationship with loved ones in some major ways. Planning requires you to closely consider your relationships with family and friends—past, present, and future—like never before. Indeed, the process can be the ultimate forum for heartfelt communication and prioritizing what matters most in life.
Here are just a few of the valuable ways estate planning can improve the relationships you cherish most:
1) It shows you sincerely care
Taking the time and effort to carefully plan for what will happen to you in the event of your incapacity or when you die is a genuine demonstration of your love. It would be far easier to do nothing and simply let you family and friends figure it out for themselves. After all, you will not be around to deal with any of the fallout.
Planning in advance shows that you truly care about the welfare of your loved ones, even when you are no longer around to benefit from their love and companionship. Such selfless concern and forethought equates to nothing less than a final expression of your unconditional love.
2) It inspires honest communication about difficult issues
Sitting down and having an honest discussion about life’s most taboo subjects—incapacity and death—is almost certain to bring you and your loved ones closer. By forcing you to face immortality together, planning has a way of highlighting what is really important in life—and what is not.
In fact, my clients share with me that, after going through our estate planning process, they feel more connected to the people they love the most. Also, they feel more clear about the lives they want to live.
Advanced estate planning offers the opportunity to talk openly about matters you may not have even considered. When it comes to choices about distributing assets and naming executors and trustees, you will have a chance to engage in frank discussions about why you made the choices you did.
While this can be uncomfortable, clearly communicating your feelings and intentions is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships. In the end, it might just be the first step in actively addressing and healing any problems that may be lurking under the surface of your relationships.
3) It builds a deep sense of trust and respect
Whether it is the individuals you name as your children’s legal guardians, or those you nominate to handle your own end-of-life care, estate planning shows your loved ones just how much you trust and admire them. What greater honor can you bestow upon another than putting your own life and those of your children in their hands?
Though it is often challenging to verbally express how much you love your family and friends, estate planning demonstrates your affection in a truly tangible way. And once these people see exactly how much you value them, it can foster a deepening of your relationship with one another.
4) It creates a lasting legacy
While estate planning is primarily viewed as a way to pass on your financial wealth and property, it can offer your loved ones much more than just financial security. When done right, it lets you hand down the most precious assets of all—your life stories, lessons, and values, or what I like to call, your “Family Wealth.”
In fact, the wisdom and experience you have gained during your lifetime are among the most treasured gifts you can give. Left to chance, these gifts are likely to be lost forever. Creating customized recordings or writings in which you share your most insightful memories and experiences with those you are leaving behind is a great way to preserve and pass on these intangible assets. These passages can not only ensure you are able to say everything that needs to be said, but that your legacy carries on long after you—and your money—are gone.
The heart of the matter
As your Personal Family Lawyer®, I can help guide and support you in having these intimate discussions with your loved ones. I offer a wide-array of customized planning options designed to enrich your family and friends with far more than just material wealth.
With my help, estate planning does not have to be a morbid affair. When done right, it can put your life and relationships into a much clearer focus and ultimately be a tremendously uplifting experience for everyone involved.
Check out some of my recent articles to learn more about taking care of your health care directives and how to plan ahead during a pandemic. I have also provided information on the most important legal and financial action to take right now.
If you are interested in speaking with me directly about your estate planning, please schedule a no-cost initial consultation today.