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Ideas for broaching the subject of an estate plan

When a family member decides the time is right to being to the process of estate planning, including the appointing of trustees and heirs, the act of broaching the subject can be a little tricky. Each family is vastly different, and, therefore, the best way to go about ensuring that everyone understands the ins and outs of an estate plan varies widely. Michigan residents may want to think about the following tips when beginning the process of creating estate plans.

One piece of advice is to have a meeting with everyone who needs to be informed and involved in the process. While having this meeting when the entire family is already gathered may seem convenient, special occasions, such as holidays, may not be an appropriate time. Scheduling a meeting for when people are prepared to discuss the matter may be best.

One thing one should keep in mind is that having everyone in the same meeting may not be the best choice either. Some family members may be too young or too irresponsible to be directly involved in a meeting. Those family members may be served better through individual meetings, as long as the same information is given in all the meetings. For the sensitive family members who are uneasy about the subject in general, calling the process legacy planning may be more positive when compared to other terms one might use.

Discussing an estate plan is essential as it will keep family members informed and make them feel as if they are part of the process. While an estate plan is a highly personal document, Michigan residents can avoid future conflicts or confusion by having frank and beneficial discussions before estate plans are actually needed. Having professionals assist with the process and the planning itself can also be beneficial and can ensure that all is handled according to law and in the best interest of all involved.

Source:, "Do's and Don'ts: Talking With Your Family about Your Estate Plan", Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, Feb. 20, 2015

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