Money Matters: Having “the talk” with family

You may think having an estate plan in place is enough, but sharing that plan with your family is just as important. 

Many people don’t want to upset their family by bringing up a potentially unpleasant topic. But instead of thinking of it as a plan for the end of your life, consider it a financial continuation plan for your family. 

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Your estate plan will include your will, insurance, and powers of attorney, all of which have to be in place to ensure your family will be taken care of in the event of your death. Having a conversation about this plan will benefit your loved ones in the long run.


It’s a good idea to start by making a list of the people you want to involve, whether that be your spouse, children, relatives, or other potential beneficiaries to your assets.

Making certain the right people are there will ensure things are dealt with swiftly when the time comes.  Be sure to explain why this is an important discussion to have and is not meant to be upsetting or morbid.

While it’s is a good idea to share your estate plan, it may be counterproductive to share the intricacies of “who gets what”.  It’s all too common that someone feels they have been treated unfairly in a will. It is best to keep this information private to prevent anyone feeling left out or trying to get you to change your mind.

Make a list of topics you want to talk about. This will help keep you on track. A few things you may want to discuss are:

•             Where your will is located?

•             Who has your power of attorney?

•             Do you have a safe and where is it?

•             Where are your personal papers such as birth certificates, passports etc.

•             Provide a list of your investments and bank accounts.

•             Provide a list of your financial advisors, lawyers, and accountants, including contact information.

Disclosing this information to your family before it’s too late will prevent undue stress when the time comes for your family to settle your estate and distribute your assets.


Don’t shy away from having meaningful conversations with your family about estate planning. Instead explain your plan at a positive, comfortable time in your life instead of waiting until things are stressful and traumatic.

It’s also wise to arrange for your advisors to meet with your family so they have a familiar face to contact if something were to happen to you.

Harley McCormick is a financial advisor at Keystone Wealth Management.

The information provided on this article is intended for informational purposes only

and is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, legal or tax advice.

For information specific to your situation, consult a professional.


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