November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to discuss your estate plan with the family. Between “pass the potatoes” and “did you hear Oregon’ most popular recipe search is ‘vegan gravy‘” you can save your estate thousands of dollars and lots of fights.

It’s true! The number one way to prevent estate disputes is to talk about your desires and goals during life. Here are some good topics to get started:

1. Tell your kids you are writing your will and essential health documents. Adult children actually really appreciate knowing that you’ve taken steps to figure these things out. It will save them a lot of worry and frustration after your death.

The number one way to prevent estate disputes is to talk about your desires and goals during life.

2. Tell your kids how you’re dividing your assets after death. Letting your adult children know what to expect after your death prevents a fight. You can either let everyone know you’re dividing everything equally or let your children know how you’re doing things differently. Maybe your eldest daughter is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and your son is a teacher. You’re proud of both of your kids but want to help your son out more. Don’t just do it–talk about it.

3. Show gratitude. Talk about how you want to give back to your communities and talk to your kids about lifetime charitable giving and how you’re giving some of your estate to a favorite 501(c)(3) organization. It’s wonderful to be the anonymous philanthropist sometimes, but if you want your legacy of giving to continue, tell your children how important it is to you.

4. Talk about health care documents. How many of you have your Oregon Advance Directive done? Do you family members know about your wishes to be an anatomical donor? No time like the present to make sure they know your end of life decisions.

5. Talk about the next generation. If you have young grandkids, it may be helpful to talk about whether there are guardians named if the worst were to happen to their parents. The only way to name a guardian in Oregon is through a valid will.

Once you get talking, you may be surprised at how easy it is. The hardest part is starting.


Photo credit: Satya Murthy via flickr, creative commons.