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  • Writer's pictureMcNickle & Bonner

Easy Tips for Talking to Your Family About Your Will

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Having a conversation about your will with your family can be very uncomfortable. While it's never easy to talk about death and what will happen afterward, discussing your wishes with your loved ones is essential. This conversation is also an opportunity to explain the reasoning behind certain decisions and resolve disputes that may likely come up after you pass away. These tips will help ease the conversation.

Senior Citizens Discussing the Details of Their Will

Identify Your Priorities

As your will is a plan that says what you want the assets you leave behind to be used for, start by listing your goals and key priorities before meeting your lawyer. For instance, you may prioritize providing financial support for your spouse or caring for a sick or disabled loved one. While identifying your priorities may take time, it will greatly help when drafting your will and discussing it with your family.

Involve a Third Party

If you anticipate that there could be an argument during the discussion, it can be helpful to have a third party, such as your lawyer or a trusted friend, present. A third party can act as a mediator and help ensure the conversation remains civil and respectful. Also, your estate planning lawyer can explain the legal implications of your decisions and help answer questions.

Know What to Say

Decide how much information about the will you wish to disclose to the family members. You can avoid going into details, only letting the beneficiaries know that you've created your will and that it ensures a fair distribution of your assets. On the other hand, you can be more specific by letting them know what each of them will receive.

Explain the Unequal Distribution of Assets

If you choose to distribute your assets unequally, explaining the decision to your heirs can help prevent resentment among them after you pass away. For instance, you may decide to leave a significant portion of your estate to a child with special needs. It's important to let family members know that your decision does not represent favoritism towards the beneficiary but reflects a real need they do not have.

Listen to Their Concerns

It's essential to listen to questions or concerns your family members have about any aspect of your will. This can make you understand and see things from their perspective, which could bring about a change in the will. Even if you won't change your decisions, listening to and acknowledging their worries is a show of empathy and understanding, which can help promote unity and prevent resentment among them.

Consider Explaining Your Reasoning After You Pass Away

You can consider explaining the reasons for your decision after you pass away if you feel uncomfortable doing so while you are still alive. For instance, you can include letters in your will that explain why one person is receiving a more significant portion of the estate than the other.

Don’t Leave Your Legacy to Chance. Let our PA Estate Planning Attorneys Help.

With the above tips, you can confidently approach the discussion and ensure it proceeds smoothly without any conflict. Our experienced PA estate planning attorneys can guide you in creating a comprehensive and legally binding will and provide advice during the discussion. Contact us to know more about how we can help.


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