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Talking to your future heirs

When it comes time to talk about what you will leave behind, everyone takes a different approach and for their own reasons. You may want to leave your estate plan a surprise, or you may want to have regular family meetings on the subject.

You may fear that if you have an open discussion about your estate plan, you will have to deal with family members arguing or trying to bargain with you about what they will get. With the right approach, however, you may be able to have a thoughtful discussion that will make it easier to plan and distribute your estate.

This is what you should think about before talking to your loved ones about your estate plan.

You can still keep your reasons private

Just because you are talking to your family about who will get what after you die, does not mean it needs to turn into a debate about who deserves something more than someone else. Let your loved ones know that you have thought carefully about your estate plan and, while you may be open to some changes, it is not a discussion about who is more loved or deserving.

Stay on topic

Each member of your family will want to talk about specific concerns, but it is important to complete the discussion of each subject before moving on to the next. Remind everyone that you will address their concerns even if it means you need to plan another meeting with everyone.

If you need to plan another meeting, take a moment to create a list of topics. When your loved ones have an opportunity to get their concern on the agenda for next time, they can have the assurance that even though they did not get to talk about it this time, they will have another opportunity soon.

Keep communication open

Although you may not want to reveal all the details of why you are planning your estate in a particular way, let your loved ones know if you are open to modifications and remind them that you will let them know if there are changes.

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