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Important Estate Planning Conversations To Have During the Holidays

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An attorney provides tips on discussing estate planning with family this holiday season.

Estate planning might not be the first thing people think about when they think about the holidays. But because this time of year might be the only time that many family members gather together, such gatherings can be a perfect time to discuss important estate planning issues.

However, having such discussions at any time of year can be challenging. For example, many people don’t want to think about legal or financial issues involving what happens after a family member dies or can no longer make important decisions due to an illness.

So what’s the best way to discuss estate planning with family members during the holidays? Below, you can find a few tips from an Arizona estate planning lawyer at The Law Firm of Brown & Jensen. We know all about this topic because our legal team has been helping families throughout Arizona create comprehensive estate plans for years.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is a wide-ranging term used to describe many different planning measures and legal documents involving what to do with a person’s estate, a legal term for someone’s property after their death. As a result, most estate planning measures go into effect after someone dies.

What are examples of estate planning?

An estate plan can include many different legally binding documents, including:

  • Last will and testament (a legal document that explains how someone wants to distribute their property after their death)
  • A trust (a legal document that protects a person’s assets for the benefit of certain people, known as beneficiaries)
  • Living will (a legal document that explains a person’s wishes for their medical care if they are no longer able to make such decisions in the future)
  • Power of attorney (the legal process in which someone is appointed the power to make legal decisions on behalf of someone if they are no longer able to do so in the future)

What’s the best way to discuss estate planning with family members?

If you are considering talking about estate planning with family members, here are a few tips that might help facilitate such an important discussion:

  • Write down ahead of time your concerns and why you want to discuss estate planning with a family member.
  • If you already have estate planning documents (such as a last will and testament), make a copy of these documents and review them yourself before discussing them with family members.
  • While reviewing such documents, if anything seems unclear, write down your questions so you can discuss them with family members or an estate planning attorney.
  • When you do talk with family members about your estate plan or their estate plan, try to keep such discussions friendly and open. Talking about estate planning can be stressful for many people.
  • Don’t make any final decisions during such discussions. Instead, give everyone time to think and set a time to talk again about such issues soon after – perhaps a few days or weeks later.
  • If anyone has any questions or concerns during your estate planning discussion, write them down so they can be discussed later in more detail.
  • When in doubt, talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.

How can an estate planning lawyer help?

Deciding what happens with someone’s financial assets or medical needs in the future or after their death can be a very complicated, emotional process. As a result, most people don’t want to think about such issues. But if there are no legal documents explaining someone’s wishes during a health emergency or after their death, family members might not know what to do, resulting in significant delays and expenses after someone’s death.

A detailed, legally binding estate plan can address these important legal matters. That’s why it’s important that family members have these discussions as soon as possible. The experienced estate planning lawyers at the Law Firm of Brown & Jensen in Arizona can help you create a legally-binding estate plan that clearly outlines your wishes. We are well-versed in the state and federal laws that apply to estate planning in Arizona. We can also explain the tax implications of different estate planning documents.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your estate plan. We conveniently have eight offices throughout Arizona, including those in Mesa, Tucson, and Scottsdale.

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