With family and friends traveling to be together for the holidays, I think it’s important – at appropriate times – to understand what family members are doing with their money and estate planning. As the kids get older, they oftentimes become the executors to their parents’ estates. I’ve had many conversations this year that mirrored that point, but the children didn’t know what their parents were doing with the money or what their wishes were. That information had never been shared.
It’s important to let your executors (or future executors if you haven’t gotten started yet), children, parents, and whoever is involved in your plan understand what you want. That’s why, when family comes to visit for the holidays, it’s important to have conversations about money and planning. Unfortunately, these conversations are often difficult because, as a society, we don’t encourage one another to talk about money. Too often, someone’s net worth becomes attached to their self-worth, and I hope that stigma can be relieved because that might be the reason so many conversations about money get omitted. These conversations can be tricky and awkward to start, but once started, it could lead to a meaningful discussion that transcends money and can open new doors to familial trust and vulnerability.
Sometimes the level of planning and preparedness requires professional help in getting legal documents drafted and organized, investment plans finalized, and wishes communicated. Other times, it just takes a simple conversation during a lazy holiday to get the proverbial ball rolling. Whatever it may be, I hope your Thanksgiving get-together lends itself to open conversations this year.