Did you come away from the holiday season with a desire to improve relationships with loved ones during the current year? After spending time with your family and friends, you may have been reminded of just how important these relationships are. Maybe you realized how precious little time you have to spend with your loved ones.
In addition, you may realize that you want to ensure that you and your loved ones will be provided and cared for no matter what happens. Talking about estate planning is a vital first step. Death and incapacity can be uncomfortable subjects to discuss. Once you have a comprehensive plan in place, though, you will almost certainly experience a huge sense of relief and peace, knowing this critical task has been discussed and documented.
Estate planning also has the potential to improve relationships with loved ones in some major ways. Planning requires you to closely consider your relationships with family and friends—past, present, and future—in ways you may not yet have considered. The process can be the ultimate forum for heartfelt communication and prioritizing what matters most in life.
Indeed, communicating clearly about what you want to happen in the event of your incapacity or death (and asking your loved ones what they want to happen) can foster a deeper bond and sense of intimacy than just about anything else you can do.
Here are just a few of the valuable ways estate planning can improve relationships that you cherish most:
1) It shows you sincerely care
Taking the time and effort to carefully plan for what will happen to you in the event of your incapacity or when you die is a genuine demonstration of your love. It would be far easier to do nothing and simply let you family and friends figure it out for themselves. After all, you won’t be around to deal with any of the fallout.
Planning in advance, though, shows that you truly care about the welfare of your loved ones, even when you’re no longer around to benefit from their love and companionship. Such selfless concern and forethought equate to nothing less than a final expression of your unconditional love.
2) It inspires honest communication about difficult topics
Sitting down and having an honest discussion about life’s most taboo subjects—incapacity and death—is almost certain to bring you and your loved ones closer. By forcing you to face immortality together, planning has a way of highlighting what’s really important in life—and what’s not.
Estate planning can help you feel more connected to the people you love the most, as well as clearer about how you want to be and live during the remainder of your (hopefully very long) life.
Planning offers the opportunity to talk openly about matters you may not have even considered. When it comes to choices about distributing assets and naming executors and trustees, you’ll have a chance to engage in frank discussions about why you made the choices you did.
While this can be uncomfortable, clearly communicating your feelings and intentions is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships. In the end, it might just be the first step in actively addressing and healing any problems that may be lurking under the surface of your relationships.
3) It builds a deep sense of trust and respect
Whether it’s the individuals you name as your children’s legal guardians or those you nominate to handle your own end-of-life care, estate planning shows your loved ones just how much you trust and admire them. What greater honor can you bestow upon another than putting your own life and those of your children in their hands?
Though it’s often challenging to verbally express how much you love your family and friends, estate planning demonstrates your affection in a truly tangible way. And once these people see exactly how much you value them, it can foster a deepening of your relationship with one another.
4) It creates a lasting legacy
While estate planning is primarily viewed as a way to pass on your financial wealth and property, it can offer your loved ones much more than just financial security. When done right, it lets you hand down the most precious assets of all—your life stories, lessons, and values.
In fact, the wisdom and experience you’ve gained during your lifetime are among the most treasured gifts you can give. Left to chance, these gifts are likely to be lost forever. Given this, in our estate plans, we’ve built in a process for preserving and passing on your unique treasures and gifts to create your own Legacy Library.
Our Legacy Library process (included in all of our estate plans) guides you, in part, to create a customized recording in which you share your most insightful memories and life lessons with those you leave behind. This can not only ensure you’re able to say everything that needs to be said, but that your legacy carries on long after you—and your money—are gone.
The Heart of the Matter
With our help, estate planning doesn’t have to be a dreary affair. When done right, it can put your life and relationships into a much clearer focus and ultimately be a tremendously uplifting experience for everyone involved.
We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. Our initial appointment is called a Family Wealth Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized and learn how to best support (whether financially or in other ways) the people you love. You can begin by contacting us or by scheduling a Family Wealth Planning Session.