Dinner party estate planning doesn’t sound like fun. How many holiday gatherings will you attend before you realize your “if I die” conversation is a buzz kill?
Here are 5 ways to buzz kill your estate plan during your next family gathering:
5. Telling everybody that you updated your Will shortly after a celebratory toast.
4. Whispering your plan does not make it easier to digest.
3. Summarizing your plan in-between sips from a cocktail doesn’t make your plan easier to hear.
2. After introducing what will happen when you die, your family immediately starts believing you are dying.
1. Dessert turns into a debate over your stuff.
Likely, you are picking up on my sarcasm and my belief to discourage Clients from engaging in dinner party estate planning. For this reason, always talk with your advisor or attorney before outlining your plan (even casually) with family and friends.
Dinner Party Estate Planning
This begs the question: then when is it the best time to share your plan? I believe the best time is a scheduled time. In other words, give your guests (parents, children, etc.) an advanced warning that you would like to discuss what you intend.
In my experience, the best intentions are already affirmed within a formal writing. Outlining your intentions as whimsical plans is as a hopeless meeting.
Before I meet with a Client, I always ask them whether they have thought through their intentions. If they have, great! Very commonly, the first time I meet with a person is the first time they actively participate in their mental process of deciding who should watch the kids and how should have access to a bank account.
Every plan is different and every plan changes with time. The plan I had when I joined the military is different from my plan today. Likewise, I anticipate my plan being different when I reach my 60’s.
I hope you are in a similar position where you see value in making a plan while being comfortable that your plan will change.
Therefore, before entering into a process I am calling dinner party estate planning, consider your audience, timing and the idea of gathering in the first place.
I wish you the very best.