Critter Corner: Keeping Emotions Out of the Estate Planning Conversation

Dear Ribbit,

I understand that discussing estate planning with adult children can be an emotionally charged conversation. However, I know it’s a critical topic to address with family members. In my situation, my daughter is very sensitive and has always thought my wife and I favor her brother. It’s not true. We honestly don’t favor one child over the other. We do, however, want to leave him certain things, such as my classic car, because he is a car enthusiast. To be fair, my wife will be leaving her diamond jewelry to our daughter. How can we make what will likely be a difficult conversation less emotional?


Les Emoshuns


Dear Les,

Mr. Farr suggests that people “talk early and talk often” about their estate plans.

Inevitably, emotion will be part of the conversation, but if you let it get out of control it can quickly derail the conversation, especially in a time of crisis where emotions are charged. This is why you should discuss your estate planning when you are healthy and when the family is already together, like during birthdays and holidays. When you normalize the conversation you’ll find that this emotional topic is much more manageable.

Also, plan for several meetings, not just one. Expecting to start the conversation and have a resolution all in one meeting is not realistic. Instead, plan to have a few conversations at different times, until you get the details sorted out. The goal is to talk early and often, and when you do you’ll find emotions are less likely to derail these important conversations.

Hop this is helpful!


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