Having the Conversation: A Proactive Approach Ensures You Get What You Want
By Will Power
Many of us put off estate planning, including writing a Will, thinking that it can wait. After all, who wants to contemplate their mortality? However, taking a proactive approach to planning your estate ensures that not only are you and your loved ones on the same page, but that your wishes are honoured and you get what you want.
Families make a lot of important decisions together: where to live, changes in careers, choice of schools, and causes to support. How you handle your estate couldn’t be more important, and it needs to be a priority — no matter how uncomfortable you think the conversation may be.
The truth is, discussing your Will doesn’t have to be depressing or uncomfortable.
Reframe the discussion
One way to get started is to talk about leaving a gift to a charity or a cause that you care about in your Will. Making a decision like this can be a celebration of who you are, the values you hold, and the life you lead. You may even inspire additional actions among those you know and love, resulting in a significant impact in your community or the world around you.
Making a plan together can be motivating. Imagine the kind of change you’d like to see in the world and how you want to be a part of making it happen. Discuss the charities that you have always admired and research the best fit. You might even consider establishing a fund for your family that gets your children and grandchildren involved.
Opening up a discussion about your Will can be awkward. When is a good time? How should you approach it? The best moments are any time when you find yourself discussing values, what’s important to you, and the changes you would like to see in the world. It could be timed when making an annual donation or gift to your favourite charity and opening up about how you would like to be able to do more. Or perhaps you can raise it when planning your finances. Whenever you choose, it is important to commit to having the conversation.
Here are a few questions to help you get started:
- How do we hope our family history and life story will live on after we are gone?
- How will the causes or charitable work we’ve invested in continue on?
- What kind of message do we want to pass on to our kids and grandkids about helping others?