Talking to Your Family About Your Will

It’s not always easy to have a dinner-table discussion about your intentions for what happens after you pass. 

However, it is something that we will all have to address at some point. After all, for those who are left behind, it will mean addressing the inevitable and approaching the future with less uncertainty. It is preferable to set your goals before discussing your will with your family. This will help guarantee that you will meet your priorities and engage in a productive and positive discussion with your loved ones. 

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can plan for your family’s future with your will and create a positive dialogue around the topic in the present if you choose to visit with your family about your estate planning.

Step 1: Make a Rough Draft of Your Will and Everything You Want to Discuss

Your family members may ask questions regarding your will as you begin to discuss it, and you may derail your line of thought. You may become so preoccupied with what everyone wants that you lose sight of what you want, which is the whole point of having a will in the first place. Make an initial draft to help you stay on track with the discussion. Write a rough copy of any additional papers you intend to include in your estate plan, such as a living will, to address as well.

Family Discussing Estate Plan at Dinner

Step 2: Pick a Time to Talk and Schedule It

Your family members may ask questions regarding your will as you begin to discuss it, and you may derail your line of thought. You may become so preoccupied with what everyone wants that you lose sight of what you want, which If you have a big family, or if you have grown children who no longer reside with you, you may need to make an extra effort to schedule a meeting. Let everyone know when and why you’d want to meet. It’s a colossal mood breaker to explain why you’ve all convened after everyone arrives. Convey to everyone what will be discussed ahead of time so that everyone is prepared and informed.

Step 3: Make Your Objectives Known to Everyone

Telling everyone about your legacy approach will get the discourse off to a far positive start than just discussing property allocation. Now is the moment to get things off to a good start. Describe what you wish to accomplish. Clarify why you’re leaving the legacies you’re leaving. This helps your loved ones comprehend your perspective and provides them a sense of what to anticipate before you delve into the depth of subjective and quantitative information.

Focusing on what you wish your legacy to accomplish instead of the dollars and cents will help you avoid a great deal of trouble. Describe your plan in detail. Remember to connect to your objectives. Qualify your intended actions with context: 

“We understand that Thomas will require assistance in the future. Therefore I intend to give him half of my estate.”

Step 4: You Must Pay Attention and Listen

The goal of this meeting is not simply to state to your family what they may anticipate in the future, but also about respectful communication. People will almost certainly have suggestions and comments concerning your will, and while you are under no obligation to obey them, it is important to convey that you will at least consider them. 

You should also solicit feedback and ideas. Some members of your family may have explicit expectations regarding your will. Moreover, someone in your family may point out a relative you haven’t mentioned. Or, someone may wish to retain an artifact that holds special meaning for them. Urge them to express these expectations so that you can take them into account.

In the end, it’s your choice, although others may have some excellent suggestions that you haven’t considered. Listening to everyone and assuring them that you will consider what they have said is essential.

Step 5: It’s Important to Emphasize That This Is Only Provisional

At both your communication and the end of your life, everything in between, many things might happen. It’s possible that new infants may be born or that someone in your family will pass away. When these things occur, you have the option to alter your will. As circumstances change, ensure your family that you’re ready to examine and reevaluate. You will change your will as necessary.

Step 6: Strive to Be as Tactful as Possible

At both your communication and the end of your life, everything in between, many things might happen. Some family ties may already be strained, and talking about wills and bequests may bring these tensions to the surface. Make it clear that this isn’t about beating others. It’s about deciding what should happen to your property once you’re deceased. Of course, part of your decision-making is based on your feelings toward other members of your family, positive or negative. Your personal sentiments about certain persons may influence how you write your will, but now’s not the time to address them. Instead, concentrate on your family’s needs and explain how your will plans to assist with those needs. 


Plan For Your Future Today

Dealing with death and planning for what comes after can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be.

With ProvenLaw, you can work through these complexities together with expert legal counsel and get the help you need to decide on the delicate estate planning choices you will need to make to ensure that your loved ones are well cared for in the event of your passing.

Whether you need to adjust an existing trust or are looking to create a new will, please contact us for your complimentary personal consultation and we’ll get you on the road to peace of mind.