February is a month for showing people how much you care about them. So make February the month for a family chat about money and your estate plan. Talking about money is never easy but it does show how much you care about them.
Here are just a few suggestions for taking charge and running the family money chat.
Include the right people
The annual meeting should include all of the loved ones affected by money decisions including topics such as inheritance, the particulars of your will, final expenses, and the naming of beneficiaries.
Set a time limit
Even the friendliest of families can only tolerate so much talk of money. Try to keep your chat to about an hour to preserve attention spans. If you need more time, suggest a follow up meeting. Remember, when it comes to money, you cannot over communicate.
Find the right place
You know your family best. Try to plan a location that is going to provide minimum distraction (also know as: no screen time). If the kitchen table is where you are all comfortable, work from home. A quiet restaurant or coffee shop might be a more neutral setting where people are less inclined to reach for phones or hit the refrigerator. Your Lawyers Financial Advisor may even have an office space you could borrow at no cost for an hour or two.
Write down a list of topics
If you are not sure what to discuss with your family, ask your Lawyers Financial Advisor to make a list based on your situation. Here are three important topics to get the conversation started.
1. Where is the money? If something happens to you, your family needs to know where you hold your investments and who holds your insurance policies. Without your help, they not be able to locate all your assets.
2. Where is your will? The only copy of your Will that has any clout is the signed original. People need to know where it is. Most Advisors discourage you from storing it in a safety deposit box or any other location requiring a key.
3. Where is your Power of Attorney? In the event of an accident or serious illness, your family needs to understand your wishes and where to find your POA fast.
Take this time to explain why you have made your decisions about your estate. An open discussion can head off any long-term arguments that could create family tension or turmoil.
Not comfortable? Let us take the lead
Talking about money can be awkward. We get that. If you aren’t comfortable taking the lead, ask your Lawyers Financial Advisor to run the meeting. We bring expertise and objectivity to the discussion.
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