Talking about our plans for when we pass away is a very sensitive topic, one that most people would rather avoid. However, given that recent estimates suggest that over 50% of Australians pass away without a Will, it's a conversation that's worth having especially with our older family members. Here's a few tips to make the talk go as smoothly as possible.
If you're normally very upfront with your family members, it might be okay to simply throw estate planning into the next conversation you have with them. Do some research first so you know the basics and can recommend a course of action for them to undertake. Send them some links to information and you could even help them set up an appointment with an Estate Planner to get them started. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, think of a reason that will make the subject come up a bit more naturally. This could be the recent death of an acquaintance or friend who didn’t have a Will and you can explain what impacts this had on their family. Bringing something like this up will hopefully help you steer the conversation towards Wills and estates, or at least get your loved ones thinking about it.
If you think you'll be sharing your inheritance with a few other people, it might be worth chatting to them first to find out whether the relative in question has mentioned anything to them about Wills and estates. Making sure you're all on the same page is extremely important for avoiding arguments, so make sure you let them know that you're planning on bringing the subject up.
It's going to be extremely difficult for your parents or older relatives to decide what they want to give to which beneficiaries. So, it's a good idea to have one-on-one talks so they know which aspects of their estate you'd be happy with, or would mean a lot to you if you received.
However, at the same time, you don't want to make it seem like you're going behind anyone's back. So, remember to hold group talks regularly to ensure you're all on the same page and everything is out in the open. Even if your family live far apart, it's worth having a group Skype conversation, as with this sort of topic it's important to be as honest and open as possible.
Although it's necessary to have these sorts of conversations, never forget that you're dealing with the passing away of a family member. Don't be too pushy, and give them time to think after you've first mentioned the subject. You'll probably find they've already made quite a few plans for their Will, but if they haven't it's a lot to sort out and it can take time. Don't rush anything along, just make sure you're respectful, considerate and honest at all times.
If you're getting ready to have this type of conversation, TPT Wealth’s experienced team of Estate Planners are here to help with all aspects of Estate Planning and Administration.