Discussing your will can be an uncomfortable conversation to approach, but important in the long run, here’s what to consider when approaching the topic…
A will is among the most important documents you’ll create in your life – it’s what will provide your nearest and dearest with clarity after you pass away. The earlier your will is produced, the greater your peace of mind will be.
Talking to your family about your will can be difficult, since you’ll be directly addressing the uncomfortable fact of your mortality. But the alternative can often be more distressing, since, in the absence of a will, your relatives might have to try to determine what you were planning after your death. In some cases, there might even be a dispute.
All together or one at a time?
If your family is still tight-knit and close, then you might address everyone at the same time. On the other hand, you might talk to everyone on a one-to-one basis. In the latter case, the person in question might feel more willing to speak up about their own life plans and ideas.
After all, it can be difficult to find your voice in a crowded room, especially if other people are dominating the conversation. On the other hand, if you speak privately to everyone, then you might create suspicion about what, exactly, is being said.
Your choice will depend on your family circumstances, and what you think will encourage everyone to express their views. Generally speaking, the more money on the line, the greater the likelihood of friction.
Talking about personal finances
You’ll want an idea of how everyone is coping, financially – but be aware that some people might not feel comfortable asking for money if they’re struggling. If you intend to leave money to children, then you’ll need to discuss the process of looking after that money until they’re old and wise enough to make good use of it.
Assigning an executor
The executor of the will is the person who’ll actually be in charge of carrying out your instructions. The person you trust with this duty will need to be capable of dealing with Inheritance Tax and other complications, as well as standing up to the pressure of the situation.
Where probate goes on for a long time, then your family might look for a probate loan to bridge the gap. Ideally, however, you’ll appoint the right executor and get the process finished as quickly as possible.
Talk about your goals
In your conversations, you’ll want to specifically say what you’re looking to achieve with your will, and why the estate is being divided in a certain way. You might not be looking for feedback, or to make adjustments – but simply explaining your thinking can be helpful for those looking to understand why their share looks the way it does.
Ask for suggestions
If you haven’t yet decided on what your will is going to say, then it’s worth being open to suggestions and ideas. It might be that, once you’ve explained your goals, your family comes back with relevant information that might allow you to make a better decision.
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