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Vacations are a Great Time to Talk About Estate Planning

Lucere Legal helps families have a discussion about estate planning
Categories: Aging Parents

Summertime offers a wealth of opportunities for a nice vacation, and if you are like most Americans, no little amount of it will be spent with your older family members. Your parents, whether near or far, often-seen or not, will always look forward to a visit. Though it is a challenge to find a perfect time to bring up estate planning with your family, an easy-going weekend can be just the right time.

It is never easy to enter into such a critical conversation, but know that it’s one that has likely been in their thoughts for some time as well. Below are three guidelines that will, at the very least, prove a good start to the discussion:

Breaking the ice.  The suggestion that you’re looking to set up your own estate plan is one of the best ways to broach the financial subject with your parents. Detail the steps you’ve taken for your estate, then subtly segway into a question about their own. Seeing your effort can help them surpass the mental barrier that may have kept them from executing their own plan. If need be, stories of celebrities or others who have failed to plan appropriately–and had their families pay the price–can prompt them to consider the matter.

Easy going does it.  The saying holds true: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Gentle reassurance is far more effective than pressure; pressure generates a variety of negative feelings that will hamper any progress: stress, frustration, or even anger will only set the both of you back. Your parents undoubtedly value their financial independence and would value any reassurance you would have to give them. Proceed step by step, being sure they know you’re always available for assistance. Provide them the information they need to get things done on their own, but don’t push it on them.

Respect boundaries.  Finances are one of the great taboos many parents have in their relationship with their children–ceding power or even just information in the area can seem to them a deterioration in their status and a reminder of their years. In the event that your parents prove unwilling to pursue the topic to any extent, leave them knowing that the one essential thing you want most is that you can find the important documents when it becomes necessary, and that you are not attempting to impose your control in any way. You know that your goal is to make things as easy as possible for you and your siblings when something does happen, so see if you can convey this concern to them.

Sometimes initiating a conversation with parents about estate planning can be easier with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer.  We can help do that with a family estate planning consultation.  Call our office today at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about designing an estate plan that fits the needs of you and your family.

Image courtesy of Photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

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When it comes to business, ignorance isn't bliss; ignorance is risk.

There's a handful of legal topics that business owners should be familiar with, at least on a rudimentary level, to reduce the risk of having something horrible come out of left field.

This book is a legal guide to help you put the most common business legal issues on your radar, with enough information for you to be on the alert for when you may need to get some professional advice.

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Do you have a cabin?

The first generation that buys a cabin enjoys it to the fullest and it’s a magical place where happy memories are made and families go for some much needed respite. Unfortunately, without thoughtful planning, the chances of the cabin staying a place of happiness and tranquility into successive generations is very, very slim.

If you haven’t done the planning in advance and made it legally binding, the family members (and their ex-spouses and new spouses) will have to work every detail out for themselves. If they can’t, what is likely to happen is a lawsuit called an action for partition that forces everyone to sell their interest. This lawsuit is expensive, and the costs of litigation will come out of the proceeds of the sale of the cabin, so to add insult to injury to those who wanted to keep the cabin but couldn’t afford to buy the others out, they are footing part of the legal bills in the lawsuit against them. Ouch!

It’s no wonder that family members stop speaking for years after the cabin conflict is “resolved.” You can’t make family relationships perfect, but you can take away much of the fuel for the family conflict fire. That’s what cabin planning does, and it has the nice side effect of giving you peace of mind now.

That’s why Kimberly wrote The Minnesota Cabin Planning Guide and Workbook, and you can get a free electronic copy of her book on our cabin planning website, or you can find it in many county libraries in Minnesota, or you can get it on amazon.com.

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