Articles Tagged with Family Meeting

Planning Ahead Reduces Family Conflict

Planning for the division of assets and other desires upon someone’s death can be an uncomfortable and difficult process. Often, parents or other benefactors want to assume that their heirs and beneficiaries will understand their end-of-life wishes and cooperate in dividing their assets and making funeral arrangements. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. An overly simple or ambiguous will (or the lack of a will entirely) can sometimes lead to division and conflict between family members at the most sensitive time of their lives.

A recent industry publication outlines some tips and solutions to prevent such discord after the death of a loved one. According to the report, the most important piece of advice is to start the estate planning process sooner rather than later. Although it can be tricky for an heir to bring up estate planning issues with a parent, it is important to remember that an effective and clear estate plan can give everyone involved peace of mind that the wishes of the parent will be honored upon their death, while limiting conflict among the heirs. Without a clearly outlined estate plan, two or more heirs may disagree in good faith about the wishes of their deceased loved one, and the disagreement can lead to divisions that certainly would not have been desired by the loved one in the first place.

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.

MP900382652A productive family meeting can have a profound impact not only on the individual family members who attend, but also on all those they interact with afterwards.

Communication is key when it comes to estate planning. In fact, the entirety of an estate plan – from the advance health directives covering your end-of-life decisions down to the distribution of your assets – is all about communication. However, not all decisions are easily and clearly communicated in writing. What you may need is a “family meeting.”

If the term “family meeting” conjures little more than memories of classic TV shows, (e.g., the “Brady Bunch”), then you are not alone.

Contact Information