Four Strategies to Help You Navigate the Process
For many people, conversations around money are full of emotional tripwires and stressors – even more so when family dynamics are involved. That’s why it’s common to experience a whole gamut of emotions during estate planning. Not only is it difficult to contemplate what you’d like to happen with your assets once you’re gone, but there is added pressure to make each of your heirs feel positive about your plan, too.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to help ease the potential tension and mitigate the emotional discomfort you might experience during the estate planning process.
Approach estate planning with the right perspective.
Yes, it’s true that estate planning is about mapping out what you want to happen with your assets after you pass. Ultimately, though, the goal of estate planning is to take the guesswork out of the handling of your affairs for the loved ones that you leave behind. When it comes time to begin conversations surrounding your estate planning, be sure to set the expectation for an open, honest, and respectful conversation. Expect for there to be questions that need answering, things that need to be explained, and at times, competing desires. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine what you want to happen with your assets, just be sure to communicate clearly and with compassion about your wishes.
Though there is a chance for drama and heightened emotions, estate planning can also just as easily be an opportunity for generations to come together and cultivate a sense of closeness if done right. By giving weight to everyone’s worries, wishes, and anxieties, and working together to determine what you want for future generations, your family can build a plan for the future that you all believe in.
Don’t forget about the end goal.
With all the heavy conversations and family dynamics at play, it can be easy to get swept up in the drama of it all and bogged down by the process. It’s okay if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of planning out the future for your family; that’s to be expected. When you’re feeling anxious, though, take a step back and know that no matter how rocky things may get at times, at the end of it you will have peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be honored when you’re gone. The benefits that your family will receive from you creating an estate plan heavily outweigh any of the difficult decisions or conversations you may need to have as you create one. So, keep your end goal in mind as you work through the challenging parts of the process.
Remember that nothing is set in stone.
Estate plans aren’t something that you set and forget once you create one. Any decision you make can be altered later on if you change your mind, or if any big life events happen that require you to tweak your original plans. So, even if the choices you’re making now seem heavy, know that they don’t have to be set in stone. In fact, the best estate plans are the ones that are regularly reviewed and edited to accurately reflect your current wishes and ensure your long-term goals are being met. So, once you finish planning your estate, if you begin second-guessing yourself or want to change your mind about a choice you made, that’s totally okay! Set some time aside once or twice a year to look over your estate plans and make sure it still suits your needs and meets your goals.
Know that you don’t have to do it alone.
If you’re particularly worried about igniting difficult family dynamics, you may want to think about using a professional to help facilitate the discussions and act as a buffer for your family. Having a third-party “referee” of sorts can help keep everyone in check and ensure that the conversations stay focused and productive rather than tail spinning into unnecessary family baggage. Not only that but using a financial professional can also help make sure that you’re not missing anything and consider all of your options when it comes time for you to make big decisions with your estate.
Typically, people use an estate planning attorney to draft up the legal documents, but that doesn’t mean a financial advisor can’t work to help you understand the documents fully. They can also help you plan meetings so that the planning process can include multiple generations collaborating together on the family’s future. Think of a financial advisor as a tour guide or sort who can provide your family with a road map for conversations and decision-making as you work your way through the estate planning process, ensuring that the end result is a plan that meets all of your objectives and goals.
At Resolute, we understand how important it is to leave a legacy your family can be proud of. Our professional team is committed to helping you support your family and set both yourself and future generations up for long-term financial security. If you’d like to have a conversation about your estate plans with one of our financial advisors, please contact us today.