Critter Corner: How to Successfully Approach the Topic of Estate Planning with Loved Ones 

Dear Raider, 

I’ve decided to get my estate planning documents in order, but I want to talk to my family first. Estate planning isn’t an easy topic to broach. Do you have any suggestions for how I can bring it up and what we should discuss? 

Thanks for your help! 

Khan Versashun 


Dear Khan, 

Estate planning can be a tricky topic to discuss with your loved ones. But, it is an important conversation to have. Below are some tips for having this critical conversation: 

1. Start the conversation sooner rather than later: Estate planning may be a sensitive topic to bring up with family members, and that’s okay. However, it’s important to start the conversation as soon as possible. Here are some ways to broach the subject:  

  • Use a news story to segue into the conversation. 
  • Tie the need for an estate plan into a recent family event (the birth of a child, a recent health issue, etc.). 

No matter how you do it, it’s important to approach the conversation with empathy.  

2. Include all of the necessary people in the conversation: Adopt a mindset of inclusiveness and transparency when discussing estate planning. If a loved one feels excluded, there’s a much higher likelihood of a disagreement occurring later. The goal should be to ensure all parties involved have a clear understanding of what to expect, as well as their role in the plan. 

3. Help your loved ones understand your wishes: Because estate planning also includes documents relating to end-of-life care (health care directives, powers of attorney, etc.), it’s a good idea to get a better understanding of how they can help carry out your wishes as you grow older. 

4. Establish an understanding among family members: It’s sometimes helpful to establish a general understanding among family members of what’s included in the estate and how it will be divided, to help avoid surprises later on.  

5. Ensure all family members understand their roles in the plan: Estate plans usually involve appointing several people to fill certain positions. This includes: 

  • A successor trustee of your trust and an executor of your will (the person who administers your trust and estate upon your death); 
  • A guardian (the person you appoint to take care of your minor children); 
  • Agents for your power of attorney and advance medical directive.  

Family members typically fill these positions, but it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s a good idea to make sure those people you want to ask are comfortable with being assigned that role. Becoming an agent under a medical power of attorney, for example, can be a big job in which the agent must make critical medical decisions that not everyone may be comfortable making. Once the roles have been established, inform loved ones about where they can find your documents, for when they need them. Be sure to mention DocuBank, a service that the Farr Law Firm offers to make documents accessible, should family members/medical personnel need to access them in the hospital or medical facility. 

Remember, talking with family members about your estate plan can seem daunting, but it’s an important conversation to have. Approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, and be sure to contact an experienced estate planning attorney, such as those at the Farr Law Firm, to get your documents in order.  

Hope this is helpful! 


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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