It never seems easy to begin the estate planning process. Having conversations with your family members and loved ones about planning past their lifetime is difficult to talk about sometimes. We know that nobody ever wants to confront the death of a family member or a loved one, but holding a family meeting to discuss estate planning is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a strong plan in place for the future. But, in order to get the ball rolling, you should talk to your family members first to make sure you’re all on the same page.

At Thomas Walters, we offer a free estate planning consultation to anyone in need of insight or answers regarding this important process. We suggest holding a family estate planning meeting to first tell your family members and loved ones what an estate is, what the important elements of an estate plan are, and why these steps are so important.

What Should I Discuss In My Family Estate Planning Meeting?

Before you set an agenda for your family estate planning meeting, you should find a date that works best for all your family members. This can be a difficult topic to discuss, so it is important that all family members are present and not preoccupied at the time of the discussion.

Next, you should set an agenda for the topics you want to discuss with your family members. You should teach your family members the important terms and elements of a strong estate plan in order to ensure you all understand the parts. Health care proxy is a term used to describe the person who takes care of your medical care if you become incapacitated. Should you fall into a coma, become unresponsive, or otherwise become unable to speak for yourself, your health care proxy will make important medical decisions on your behalf.

In addition to learning what a health care proxy is, you should educate your family on what it means to be a beneficiary. Not many people will know These terms the first time they hear them, and it’s best if they’re prepared once they speak with a lawyer. A beneficiary is an individual who receives benefits from a transaction via a contract (such as an insurance policy), a will, or a trust.

While you’re discussing the definition of a beneficiary, you can also use that opportunity to educate your family regarding what a will and trust are. A will is a legal document that states a testator’s wishes and instructions for managing and distributing their estate after death. A trust is a form of division of property rights and a fiduciary relationship, in which ownership of assets goes to a third party, known as a trustee, and the beneficial enjoyment goes to the beneficiary.

Assets are “something of value owned by an individual or organization. An asset can be physical property like a building or intangible property such as a patent. Assets are an important part of and differ in many areas of law.”

Why Do Family Estate Planning Meetings Work?

It is extremely beneficial to discuss your estate planning goals with your family in a formal family meeting. It can be difficult to get all of your family members all on one page. Family estate planning meetings are successful because each family member will have an opportunity to ask any questions or get clarification about the process.

Additionally, it’s best to give future beneficiaries an idea of what they can expect after the estate holder passes away. Without an estate planning meeting, sometimes family members and loved ones argue about who gets what assets from the estate, which can cause life-long and life-changing disputes. If expectations are settled early on, it mitigates the risk of family members rushing to prepare the estate once a loved one has passed, and also reduces the risk of any quarreling.

Schedule An Estate Planning Consultation With A Will And Trust Lawyer

At Thomas Walters, our number one goal is to make sure your family comes first. We understand just how difficult sudden life changes can be, and that’s why planning ahead of time is crucial to ensure you have a solid plan in place. Having a plan in place to ensure your family doesn’t falter can provide you with the peace of mind in knowing they will be well taken care of. For any of your estate planning needs, trust our law firm to give you the results you deserve. Schedule a free consultation if you have any questions about the process and need advice from a professional.