There are many reasons people may want to avoid creating or revising their Houston estate plan as they age. Some may say they do not have the time or money to sit down with an attorney. Others may think that it is unnecessary. However, often, it boils down to a desire to avoid the uncomfortable conversations that must be had when it comes to engaging in the estate planning process. Most people do not want to think about death, let alone talk about it with their loved ones. With that in mind, it makes sense they would want to avoid discussing their estate plan. So how can one approach this conversation and gently persuade their loved one to create or update an old estate plan?
Tips to start the conversation about estate planning:
- First, it is important to show understanding and empathy. As discussed above, these are conversations no one enjoys having. One should show an understanding of why their loved one may want to avoid the topic. One way to do that is by having patience. Try not to be too overbearing or demanding. It may take more than one conversation to convince a loved one to plan for the unavoidable sooner rather than later.
- Second, it is important for a loved one to understand the potential consequences if they pass away without an estate plan. Many people do not understand what happens to their assets if they die without a comprehensive plan in place. Without a will, an estate passes through intestate succession laws, which determine how their assets will be distributed. This can result in assets passing to someone who may not have received them under a will, such as an estranged spouse. Furthermore, individuals whom the deceased provided for during their lifetime, such as a parent, may be left with nothing and no one to depend upon.
- Third, prudent estate planning provides clarity and eases the burden on loved ones. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult enough. Coping with that grief while administering a loved one’s estate without the right documents is almost too much to imagine. A comprehensive estate plan helps loved ones understand what needs to be done when someone passes away, easing their burdens in the process. Similarly, if a loved one falls seriously ill an up to date estate plan ensures the right person is tasked with making medical decisions and handling financial responsibilities on their behalf.
- Finally, if there is continued resistance, enlisting the help of a trusted individual may be helpful. This could include a trusted professional, such as a financial advisor, who can speak to the benefits from an authoritative position. It could also include a trusted family friend or neighbor with personal experience. Both could speak to the benefits of having an estate plan from different perspectives. They may also be able to provide a referral, which could help a loved one feel more comfortable.
In the end, the wishes of a loved one should be respected; however, with patience and consideration, family members will likely be able to break down the barriers and have a constructive conversation about the future.
Do You Have A Loved One in Need of Houston Estate Planning Services?
If you or a loved one need to create or update a Houston estate plan, McCulloch & Miller, PLLC is ready to meet your needs. The attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC have the experience to address any concerns and the skill to craft an estate plan that fits your circumstances. We handle all aspects of estate planning and elder law, including Medicaid planning, veterans’ benefits and special needs planning. Contact our office at 713-333-8900 to schedule a consultation with an attorney on our team.