Carol, drink eggnog, and discuss your preferred burial location.

For many of you, the holidays may be one of the few times each year when the whole family is able to get together. It’s a good chance to catch up, make memories, and discuss some family house keeping. One of those agenda items might just happen to be estate planning. To help make it easier, here are our top 6 tips to make talking about wills, trust, and more with family at the holidays.

  1. Don’t involve alcohol, unexpected surprises, new responsibilities and antsy in-laws.  Go for quiet time, take a chance to read before you sign, and discuss any questions that come up.
  2. Read before you sign: Whether it’s a power of attorney document, will, or trust, you always should read any legal document before you sign it. The terms are binding. You don’t want to accidentally gift all the inheritance to your mom’s favorite cat.
  3. Clear up any ambiguity: The large purpose of these document is to avoid confusion and ambiguity when the going gets tough. If you’re not clear now, you certainly won’t be then. Make sure that all of person’s wishes are know now.
  4. Have answers to the hard questions: Where do you want to be buried? What if you’re in a bad medical state?  Do you want a priest? All of these questions have potentially controversial answers. Come prepare with what you want, so that you can answer if others ask.
  5. Make your wishes known: This isn’t the time to be shy or selfless. To do right by you, communicate your needs clearly now, and have a good, smooth future.
  6. Once it’s finalized and signed: get it in the cloud and share access to the documents. This is a great way to make sure everyone has the latest copy and it can be found where people are when the docs are needed.

The takeaway:  it doesn’t matter if you are 25, 45 or 75,  take the few minutes to have your wishes known somewhere. They might be different from the rest of your family and if something happens, it’ll be hard enough. Don’t leave people guessing.

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