How To Talk To Your Family About Your Estate Plan

Peter Pabich |

While it can be difficult and uncomfortable to talk to your loved ones about your estate plan, proactively communicating your plans and wishes to them is an important part of the planning process. Grieving the death of a loved one is hard enough - leaving your loved ones in the dark, whether or not they are included in your plan, has the potential to create confusion and leave your family feeling unprepared. 

Below are some helpful considerations to guide you in preparing for this discussion with your loved ones, including how our team can provide support with planning and facilitating.  

Step #1: Review your existing plan and confirm your powers of attorney 

Before initiating conversations with those closest to you, it’s important to review your estate plan to determine if any changes are needed. If you’re an Entrust Wealth Partners client, this is something we partner with you on regularly to ensure your plan aligns with your current goals, wishes, and life circumstances. 

If you already have an estate plan in place, it’s likely that you’ve previously designated your powers of attorney. However, it’s important to confirm the powers of attorney that you’ve designated are still appropriate and, if not, make updates as needed. This includes both your healthcare power(s) of attorney and your financial power(s) of attorney. Once identified, it’s important to talk to these individuals to ensure they are comfortable with the intended responsibilities and communicate your wishes to them first, before sharing with your extended family and friends. 

Step #2: Enlist the help of your Entrust Wealth Partners advisor.

Many individuals put off these conversations because they don’t know where to start. That’s where we come in. We specialize in helping our clients and their loved ones navigate all aspects of the estate plan process, including leading the planning, facilitation, and follow-up of these conversations. We can help ensure the appropriate attendees are included, set the agenda, lead the conversation in a way that aligns with your wishes, and oversee any follow-ups needed coming out of the meeting. This can help alleviate stress and anxiety around the conversation, allowing you to be a present and active participant.

Step #3: Determine an agenda to help guide the conversation.

Having a clear agenda heading into discussions with your loved ones can help you feel more prepared and helps ensure a successful meeting. As noted above, your Entrust Wealth Partners advisor can help you determine an agenda that aligns with your goals and wishes. At minimum, plan to share:

  • Where your estate planning documents are located  
  • Passwords 
  • Information for your wealth management advisor, attorney, and tax advisor
  • Contact information for any other professionals to call 
  • Powers of attorney 

Step #4: After your initial conversation, plan to set a cadence of regular meetings.

Communication is key to ensure your legacy is honored. While an initial conversation around your estate plan will go a long way to ensure you and your loved ones are aligned on your wishes, having regular touchpoints to check-in and share updates or answer questions is important. These meetings don’t need to solely focus on your estate plan, either. They can provide updates or cover other topics important to you. Either way, regular check-ins can reduce feelings of overwhelm, which is common given this information can be overwhelming and may take time to process.

If you’d like support navigating these conversations with your loved ones, we can help. Your Entrust Wealth Partners advisor is available to help you identify who to include in these discussions, plan for what information to share as part of the discussion, and help facilitate the discussion - either in person or virtually.  

Not yet an Entrust Wealth Partners client? Simply contact us at (860) 838-3730 to get the support you need.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation. Entrust Wealth Partners and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services. This material was prepared by Courtney Henry Consulting.