Proper estate planning is incredibly important, but some people avoid talking about it because it brings to the forefront the reality of their mortality. If your spouse or loved one tends to avoid conversations about estate planning, here are a few tips you can follow to get started on the right path.
1. Start the conversation in a non-threatening way. Rather than cornering your spouse and forcing them into a conversation, consider bringing it up at a time when the other person is less likely to feel threatened. If you and your spouse like to take walks together, for example, you might be able to broach the subject then.
2. Start with a story. If you are having trouble starting a conversation about estate planning, using the story of a friend or loved one might be your way in. If you can show your spouse an example of a family that was caught off-guard by a sudden death, he or she might be more likely to understand the importance of estate planning.
3. Divide and conquer. If you find that your children or other loved ones are reluctant to have a family discussion about estate planning, it may be easier to speak to each child individually. You can choose whether to address each child yourself or with your partner—whichever option you think would be most comfortable for those involved.
4. Try to avoid confrontation. Sometimes when children try to broach the topic of estate planning, the parent is inclined to think that they are only trying to protect their inheritance. When you start the conversation, try to be as non-confrontational as possible, so your loved one knows that you want what is best for them, and that is why you are having the conversation.
By following the tips above, you can ease your way into a conversation about estate planning with your spouse or loved one. Do not expect him or her to open up immediately if the estate planning process is stressful for them, but make an effort to ease into things so that everyone is comfortable with the conversation.