Thinking about estate planning can yield some uncomfortable feelings and conversations, especially during the holidays. Ohioans who have yet to create a comprehensive estate plan might think that the process is awkward. Many people have negative perceptions about mortality and thus will avoid estate planning. However, there creation of an estate plan is a positive decision and there should not be reluctance or fear due to a lack of understanding about it. Knowing these benefits and what can be achieved is a vital part of estate planning.

While the holidays might seem like a strange time to discuss an estate plan, it might be ideal as the entire family is generally present. Failing to adequately prepare for the future generally makes matters worse if the unexpected happens. When a person dies, a properly organized estate plan can avoid disputes over the assets and how they will be distributed. Discussing these concerns does not need to be a negative. Lifetime contributions and a legacy can be part of the discussion, as can how the person’s assets will be split. This can even involve charitable goals and more.

While a person who has been given less of a share of an estate might be displeased with that decision, talking about it might assuage any lingering hard feelings while simultaneously avoiding the possibility of litigation after the testator has died. In addition, specifically naming an executor and having the family be part of that choice can also avoid rancor. An estate plan goes beyond bank accounts, homes, automobiles and retirement accounts. There could be heirlooms, collectibles and items of sentimental value that family members might want. This can be addressed in a comprehensive estate plan.

It might sound unusual to prepare an estate plan during the holidays. However, with wills, trusts, powers of attorney, a living will, medical authorizations and more, it may be better to have the family aware of what is happening.