Estate Planning: The Holiday Edition

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JGB October 2023 Newsletter

Estate planning might sound like a hefty term, one that brings up feelings of unease, but ultimately, estate planning is all about ensuring your loved ones are taken care of, even when you’re not around. It is best to think about estate planning as drafting a roadmap to ensure your family’s financial future in the event you are no longer capable of doing so. With the holiday season bringing friends and families together, it is an excellent time to discuss the future with those who mean the most to you. Below is a simple guide to assist you in navigating estate planning discussion amidst the holiday cheer.

Estate Planning: What Is It?

Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for how your assets will be shared among your loved ones when you are no longer around. It aims to ensure that everyone you care about is well taken care of and, should the situation arise where you can no longer take care of yourself, it is about making sure that there is someone to take care of you.

Family Dynamics: A Matter of Opinion

Every family is different, and folks have their own thoughts and feelings. Each family member may have different ideas when it comes to estate planning. Some may be more charity-minded, where others may want to provide for family alone. It is critical to listen to everyone’s individual view and get consensus from loved ones, especially those individuals you wish to name in your documents.

Initiating the Conversation: Holiday Edition

Holidays, being a time of togetherness, can be an ideal setting to initiate discussions about your estate plan. Here’s how to go about it:

Educate Yourself

Familiarize yourself with the basics of estate planning. An understanding of terms such as will, trust, and power of attorney will help everyone be on the same page.

Choose the Right Setting

Choose a quiet and relaxed environment for the discussion.

Ensure the setting is comfortable and facilitates open conversation.

Seek Guidance

Consult with your financial advisor prior to the conversation. Your financial advisor can give you an overview of your assets, their distribution, and familiarize you with potential planning strategies.

Schedule a consultation with your JGB attorney. Your trusted attorney advisor can help facilitate an estate planning conversation between you and your loved ones.

What to Talk About

Vision of the Future: Share your vision for the future of your loved ones. Discuss what you want to happen in the event of your passing or your incapacity.

Assets and Debts: Discuss your assets and debts openly and honestly. Depending on the composition of your estate, some individuals may be more inclined to be named in your documents than others.

Individual Concerns: Allow room for loved ones to express their worries and any issues they may have with the current plan. It is better to know and address their concerns now, while you still can.

Roles and Responsibilities: Discuss who will handle what responsibilities and why some individuals are named in the estate plan while others are not. Communication is key to a successful estate plan.

Be Kind and Understanding

Understand that talking about these topics can make people emotional. Do your best to be kind and give people the time and space to express themselves. Remember that the overarching goal of this process is to ensure that the family is taken care of and remains together.

Keep the Discussion Going

Write down the key points, agreements, and action items from the discussion.

Schedule an appointment with your JGB attorney for further discussion and to institute your plan. All the discussions in the world won’t mean a thing unless your wishes are legally executed. Your JGB attorney can assist you with the required paperwork.

Estate planning should be a collaborative effort. It requires understanding and cooperation from your loved ones. This holiday season, use the time together to initiate discussions on estate planning. If your estate plan is finished, have your children, parents, or other loved ones completed theirs? With open communication and guidance from your JGB attorney, you can ensure a secure and harmonious future for your loved ones.

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