If a loved one in California broaches the subject of discussing estate planning during a holiday get-together this year, it may seem counterintuitive to you. After all, the holidays are a time for fun and festivities, and a discussion about your final wishes seems like it might be depressing.
Nevertheless, these discussions need to take place among family members, and the holidays are a good time to take care of it when your family gets together to celebrate. The discussion does not need to dominate the holiday gathering; all you need is an hour or two that you can set aside specifically to gather close family members in a quiet room to have the estate planning discussion.
According to FindLaw, one of the most important things to discuss at this meeting is your will. You may be reluctant to have this discussion during a holiday gathering because emotions can run high and arguments may break out among family members. Nevertheless, having the discussion now means that you have the opportunity to make your wishes known, which may help to curtail any potential arguments that may erupt after you are gone. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to learn from your grown children which of your possessions have sentimental value for them, which can only help you during the estate planning process.
Another important discussion topic that many people either may not think to bring up or would prefer to avoid is what healthcare treatment you wish to receive, or not to receive, as the case may be, in the event that you are no longer able to make such decisions on your own. This is another issue that can cause strong disagreements among family members, and planning ahead and making your wishes known can help prevent the arguments from escalating if you do eventually become incapacitated. There are two different approaches you can take to handle the matter: you can appoint an individual to make health decisions for you with a durable power of attorney, or you can provide instructions for your doctor regarding your care in the form of advanced directives. In either case, it is important to communicate your wishes to your loved ones.
Digital planning may be a lighthearted way to break the tension after an emotional discussion about wills, advanced directives and/or powers of attorney, but it is also important in an age of technology and social media to discuss the handling of your online accounts after your death.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.