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Thanksgiving is almost here, and Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s are just around the corner. As families tend to gather during the holiday season, these are prime opportunities for all family members to be in the same room at the same time to talk about estate planning.

5 Tips to Make Hard Family Talks Easier

Jason Notte recently discussed why the holidays are the perfect time to hold difficult family conversations, and provided advice on how to make this process smoother:

  1. Most of the family is in the same place at the same time, which may not be the case during the rest of the year.
  2. Out-of-state family members can see first-hand if Mom or Dad's health or capabilities have declined since their last visit home. This may end their resistance to talking about these tough topics.
  3. If family members are in town for several days, the conversation can continue over that time and important decisions don't have to be made in one session.
  4. Agree in advance that estate planning will be discussed during the holiday so family members can prepare their list of questions and concerns and be ready to give the discussion their full attention.
  5. Because the holiday season can heighten sentimental emotions, it may be a good time to discuss who is receiving which personal items and air any disputes in advance.

If there is a lot of resistance or discomfort, or family members find excuses to avoid the meeting altogether, ask your estate planning attorney if you can meet in her office on "neutral ground" to get all the loved ones on the same page.

If you'd like our help facilitating a family meeting to go over your estate plan, please let us know. We'd be happy to help your family have the tough conversations now, to avoid hard feelings or misunderstandings later.