by Kristin Carroll
Communication is key, and this is your chance!
We get asked about our Family Care MeetingTM a lot these days. Everything from when can I schedule mine to what’s the point? The first question is easy, if you’re a client and you’ve signed your estate plan, give us a call, we’d love to schedule a Family Care MeetingTM for you and your trusted advisors or loved ones! The second question might take a little more explaining.
We often ask our clients, when do you need an estate plan to help care for your family? The somewhat morbid answer is, of course, when you’re no longer around to care for them yourself. Someone else is going to have to administer the plan you created; you won’t be able to do that. Doesn’t it make sense that they have some idea what it’s going to look like before they need to be involved?
We occasionally hear the objection, “but you’re going to be there to help with that.” Yes, we’re absolutely going to support your loved ones in every way that we can as they walk through administering your plan, but ultimately, your loved ones, your trusted advisors, are going to need to be involved. They are going to have fill the roles that you gave them. That’s the plan. The Family Care MeetingTM helps to prepare them for that. It not only gives them the basic information about your plan, but it gives them a chance to hear directly from you about why you set it up the way you did, or any special concerns that you have. Things that can easily get misconstrued after you’re gone can be communicated so much more clearly while you’re still around to talk about them. If communication is key (which it is!), the Family Care MeetingTM is a great opportunity to communicate about your plan and cut down on any potential fighting or misunderstandings after you are gone.
Along with giving your loved ones a chance to hear about your plan from you instead of from an attorney they don’t know after you pass, the Family Care MeetingTM also allows you to get your team of people together in one room, to meet each other and understand their roles. It gives your loved ones a chance to meet us and any other financial professionals you may want involved, and to understand what you are asking them to do. It gives them a chance to get familiar with the process now, when they’re thinking clearly and you’re here to talk about it with them, rather than after you pass, when they’re grieving and confused.
We know it can be difficult to talk with loves ones about the things involved in estate planning like death and your assets, which is why we help to facilitate the conversation in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable and allows you to share what you want to share. If you’re worried about sharing about your assets with your loved ones, you don’t have to. If you want them to know everything, we can do that too. We can say as much or as little as you are comfortable with. The most important part is simply to give everyone a basic overview of how your plan will work and what their role in the plan will be. We think this meeting is SO important that we’ve built it into our ongoing client care program! If you’re a client, we encourage you to take advantage of this.