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Top tips for discussing estate planning with your loved ones

There is more to creating an estate plan than making decisions on your own, signing a few documents and hoping that you never have to revisit this again in the future.

Instead, there's a very good chance you'll need to discuss your estate plan with loved ones, such as a spouse and/or elderly parents.

For example, if you're in the process of creating an estate plan, your spouse should be part of the process. You want him or her to know your thoughts, goals and what you hope to accomplish with the decisions you're making.

There may also come a time when you need to discuss estate planning with your elderly parents, such as if they want to make changes to better reflect their current health and living arrangements.

Here are some top tips for discussing estate planning with your loved ones:

  • Open the lines of communication: There is no denying the fact that this is a difficult conversation on many fronts. All individuals involved will turn their attention to the future, which is not always easy. However, with open lines of communication, everyone involved can stay on the same page.
  • Cover all the necessary details: If you're going to discuss estate planning, you might as well touch on everything that requires your attention. For example, if you're an adult speaking with your parents about estate planning, make sure they have their assets in order, a plan for long-term care and a strategy for dealing with an incapacity.
  • Keep a positive tone: Even though estate planning has a lot to do with death, it doesn't mean anything bad is happening in the immediate future. Keeping a positive tone makes it easier for everyone to remain comfortable during the conversation.

Discussing estate planning is never easy, but it's something you must do if you want to put you and your loved ones in the best possible position.

Once you have the initial conversation out of the way, you can turn your attention to answering key questions and dealing with the necessary estate planning paperwork.

As you move forward one step at a time, you'll soon come to find that everyone is on the same page.

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