For many in New Jersey, the prospect of discussing end-of-life planning with loved ones is distressing. Few people want to look this particular reality of life directly in the eye, which leaves many families with little idea how to handle the affairs of their deceased loved ones. While Thanksgiving and Christmas may not offer ideal settings to discuss estate planning issues, many people find the New Year’s gatherings are far less emotionally charged.
As families prepare to welcome in the New Year, many individuals are preparing their own list of resolutions and plans for the months ahead. This environment of planning and forward thinking is perfect to broach the subject of estate planning. In addition, having most or all of one’s relatives in the same place at the same time is a difficult feat to accomplish at other points during a given year.
When discussing the matter, be aware that the details of one’s estate plan may not be universally well received by family members. It may be necessary to explain various choices to those who will be most impacted by the eventual distribution of assets. While the conversation may be difficult now, it will give everyone a chance to come to terms with those decisions now, when grief does not define the moment.
In addition to making one’s plans clear, discussing the issue at the onset of a new year might also spurn adult children into addressing their own estate planning needs. It is never to early to consider these matters. Younger family members may not have thought about how to structure the legal framework for guardianship for their children, powers of attorney or various advance directive options.
New Years gatherings may offer one of the best settings in which to talk about estate planning options and choices with loved ones. Discussions about resolutions and goals offer the perfect launching point for the topic, and family members are often more receptive as the holiday season is winding down. Covering these issues in full might give New Jersey residents one very important task that can be checked off of the 2015 to-do list.
Source: savannahnow.com, “Holiday gatherings provide good time to tell families about estate plan”, Richard Barid and Michael Smith, Dec. 18, 2014