Imagine this scenario …
Your family and loved ones are gathered together to celebrate your life and mourn your passing.
They are sad and missing you.
They’re also sharing happy and funny stories about you as you have touched many lives. Everyone agrees they were better for knowing you and having you in their life.
It’s good that you took the time to write a will (unlike the majority of people) and get your affairs in order.
As a family, you did not discuss death, dying, wills or estate planning.
Individually, people often thought about it, but there was never “the right time” to bring it up. So as the details of your will emerge, your family is struggling to come to terms with your wishes.
Your Family Had No Idea
When you named a family friend as your executor, instead of a member of your family, no-one knows why you did this. Perhaps there’s a good reason, but it was never discussed. Your eldest son feels as if you didn’t trust him to handle your estate.
Some of your beneficiaries feel the division of property is unfair. Your only daughter assumed she would inherit some art pieces as she is a talented artist. These family heirlooms inspired her early work but they’ve been gifted to a local charity that nobody knew you supported.
A long time friend agreed to take care of your beloved dog, as he has a large property with other animals. Your will reflects this arrangement but your family is devastated to learn they will have no further contact with a cherished family pet.
Your family is now questioning the validity of your will and seem to be heading down a path to contest your last will and testament.
If only you had discussed your final wishes as a family …
How to Start Discussing Wills
The scenario above is not far-fetched from many situations unfolding every day. And worse are the cases where someone dies without a will which can cause even more distress and heartache.
If you’re finding it difficult to get started, you could refer to a recent death (a celebrity in the news or a family friend) and wonder out loud with your family – “I hope they had their affairs in order. It would be a double tragedy if they didn’t have a will and their family had to suffer through the legal system.”
Use this moment to start discussing your wishes.
It’s also a good opportunity to tell your family how important it is for each of them to have their own will too.