For much of our lives we live in the moment. While we might plan for major life events and retirement, most people don’t give much thought to what life will look like for their loved one’s once they’re gone. As we age, though, concerns about our loved ones’ futures are often heightened. Yet, too frequently our avoidance of death leads to a lack of preparation, which might jeopardize the financial wellbeing of those we love. It might also put your possessions at risk of falling into the wrong hands.
We understand the challenges of coming up with a plan for the future, especially when it involves considering your own mortality, but the truth of the matter is that you can address this topic either with yourself or with a loved one in a way that is compassionate and effective so long as you follow a few simple tips. Therefore, if you or a loved one are struggling to delve into preparing for the future, consider the following:
- Be gentle and patient: You don’t want to be pushy with yourself or our loved ones. Doing so might create too much pressure and prevent the action that is needed to protect important assets and one’s vision for the future. Therefore, you should recognize, and you should help your loved ones recognize, that discussing these preparations may be ongoing. Also, realizing that talking about declining health and death is challenging, approach the subject with delicacy and understanding.
- Write down the things that are most important: Whether you are considering your plan for the future or bringing up the topic with a loved one without a plan, make a list of the things that are most important in life. It could be a charitable organization, a grandchild’s education, or simple fairness in the distribution of your assets. Regardless of what’s most important, there’s a legal way to ensure that those interests are provided for and encouraged after passing away.
- Discuss planning when everyone is healthy: If you’re going to be talking about estate planning with a loved one, do so before they are in declining health if at all possible. If you don’t, then it might look like you’re trying to rush the idea before death, which comes off bad. It might even shut your loved one down from discussing the matter.
- Let others know what you’re doing: If you’re coming up with a plan of your own, then let your heirs and beneficiaries know what you envision for the future. If you’re trying to nudge a loved one into drafting a will or creating a trust, then let other family members know so that you’re not accused of coercion or undue influence. You might even find that you’ll get a helping hand from your family.
- Seek out information: The chances are that you, or your loved one, know what you want for the future. It might be to ensure that a child graduates college or gets married. It might be that a farm is taken care of by the family member who contributed most to its growth and success. You might want to prevent a loved one with special needs from losing public benefits after receiving an inheritance. You might even want a beloved pet to be well taken care of after you’re gone. Regardless of your or your loved ones wishes, the chances are that you don’t know the legalities involved in bringing them into reality. This is why it is important to seek out information so that you know exactly what you need to do to bring your vision of the future to life.
We know that your life is busy, and thinking about something that seems so far away might not be your top priority. But dealing with these matters as soon as possible is the only way to ensure that your loved ones and your property isn’t left in the hands of the State to distribute as mandated by law. So, with that in mind, you should think about taking control of the matter and reach out to an attorney of your choosing to discuss the matter further.