The Tough Conversation I Had To Have Because I Love My Kids
Recently my family and I have experienced the life cycle of our own parents growing older that has brought us face to face with the vital need to plan properly for our children’s future. In the blink of an eye we have seen first hand that life can change drastically. It would not be fair to our girls if we were not prepared in the event of something happening to one or both of us. Estate Planning and Kid Protection Planning is ESSENTIAL, so I decided to turn to a true expert on how to create an open and caring process for planning.
By: Elise Rodriguez, Esq.
February is all about showing those you love just how much you care, and sometimes that doesn’t come in the form of jewelry for your spouse or candied hearts for the kids. Sometimes, showing how much you care comes in the form of working together, as a couple, to plan for your family’s future. The ultimate way to make sure your family is taken care of, no matter what, is to have a comprehensive estate plan in place.
The initial thought of an estate plan can be overwhelming and seem far from romantic, especially if conversations about money have proven difficult in your relationship. And having to decide who should (and who shouldn’t) receive inheritances or raise the kids can create conflict and tension in a relationship.
But getting your estate plan handled can actually keep your family out of conflict in the long run, and can make your relationship with your spouse or partner better.
Here’s how to make sure your family gets the most out of estate planning:
Change the conversation. As I always say, estate planning is not just about money. It’s about preserving your legacy and passing on all of your assets, including your spiritual and emotional human assets. If you change the conversation from being about money to being about values, you and your spouse will likely be on the same side of the table.
Once it becomes clear that you want the same things for your family, such as love, honor, and security, you can work together toward passing those values on. Working together to attain this goal will not only give the relationship a sense of worth, but also a sense of pride, because you are truly doing your best as parents to make the lives of your children better and to make sure they’re taken care of.
Ease into the process. If you think executing an estate plan may cause friction in your relationship, ease into the process. Remind yourself to stay focused on what matters and start getting comfortable with the topic of conversation.
In our office, we send couples a Family Estate Planning Worksheet to fill out before the initial meeting. In this worksheet, you can fill in your assets, identify your planning objectives, rank family values, and answer important family questions. This way, you can open the lines of communication with each other and begin to organize yourselves without having to make critical decisions on your own.
Choose an adviser who will keep you focused. As with most issues in relationships, communication is key. But when talking about money and your children’s future, staying focused and in the right mindset is just as important. With that said, it is important to develop a strong working relationship with your attorney that will allow you the freedom to discuss frankly your family dynamics, plan accordingly and keep the family positively involved every step of the way.
It is your attorney’s duty to make sure you stay focused, as a couple, on the issues at hand and not get triggered by things that have previously been a point of contention in the relationship.
By planning for your family’s future, you are letting them know that they can feel secure and confident. And when you’re gone, they will know just how much you cared, because you made it your priority to plan for their well-being and success.