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Why family vacations and other holidays may be a good time to discuss estate planning

Families, and especially those of means, often find themselves embroiled in heated disputes over contested wills and trusts when a loved one passes. Many of these are completely preventable. Communication is often the reason that conflicts emerge. 

You can end that trend by taking advantage of the time you have together when you’re on vacation or celebrating a holiday together. There are a few different issues that you should address to minimize the chances of conflict down the road.

Why have estate planning discussions during vacations and holidays?

It can be ideal to have conversations about estate planning when you and your extended family are all together. These discussions may aid you in identifying an executor of your estate and an option for discussing assets and plans so that no one feels blindsided down the road.

Estate planning discussions don’t have to be heavy. Instead, you can turn conversations into a type of bonding experience where you explore a new side of a loved one. You may share in a conversation why you plan to leave a significant portion of their estate to one family member versus others. You may record these conversations to dispel allegations of undue influence should they arise in the future.

Discussions like this may provide you with an opportunity to share more about the causes that you support. This may lead you to identify beneficiaries of the charitable trust that you create. 

You may also use such conversations to your advantage to gain some perspective as to assets that your heirs might prefer to inherit over others. This can be helpful when drafting your will. You might be able to have your heirs play a game to determine who gets what if they have their eyes on the same thing. 

Guidance in discussing estate planning with your family

Discussions tend not to go very well, and people make irrational choices when the parties involved in them tend to feel like they’re under pressure. 

An estate planning attorney can go over matters that you might want to discuss with your family while celebrating the upcoming holidays or vacation. You may be able to minimize familiar conflict by having discussions like this now instead of when emotions are raw later on.