for years, see a family business
carry on, or ensure a disabled child
or dependent is cared for.
As in writing a will, good
communication begins by
discussing your wishes with
someone who will handle your
affairs (an executor) if you can no
longer manage them while you are
living or after your death.
If you’ve spent years building a
family business and want to see it
carry on, some serious discussions
are needed—it can take years to
look after all the details after you
retire or pass away.
As you approach retirement, you
may want to stay on with the
company as an advisor, attending
regular meetings and being part of
major business decisions. This can
give you the confidence that you’re
leaving the family business in good
hands, be it family or new owners.
No matter what issue you talk over,
scheduling time and being sensitive
are among the many things that can
help, says Mann.
“Set up a time to discuss things
rather than bringing it up out of
the blue. Let everyone have time
to think about their wishes and
concerns; encourage everyone to
write down what they would like to
say ahead of time. If you think there
may be tension, ask a third party to
help guide your conversations,” she
says. “It is important to be sensitive
when having these conversations;
Discuss changes or concerns with a family member,
friend or health-care provider
How do you want your possessions
to be divided when you die? If
it’s not in a will, carrying out your
wishes can be very hard. A well-prepared will can be helpful to
surviving family members, as many
of the hard decisions have already
Planning a will is an important step
for everyone involved. If you’re
writing a will, you may want to
make your wishes known before
you die. You can sit down with
your family as a group or discuss
your wishes and plan one-on-one.
If you’re a family member trying
to ensure a loved one’s affairs are
in order, you can ask if their will is
written or if it needs to be updated.
Life changes with marriage, children,
finances and property and your will
may need to reflect those changes.
You may face some roadblocks
when it comes to making a will, but
it is important to take the time to
talk through difficult choices and
make decisions that are right for
you and those you care about.
Estate planning varies widely, but
in general, it is a detailed plan of
how to divide, transfer or spend
your money and property after
your death. An estate plan also
outlines how you wish your spouse,
children and others are to be cared
for after your death. It is also called
wealth planning, tax planning, estate
management and financial planning.
The foundation of estate planning is
a properly executed will.
You don’t have to be rich to
plan your estate, but it helps to
understand investing, budgeting
and taxes and how they apply
to your finances. Estate planning
is also a valuable exercise if you
want to pass on a special vacation
property that’s been in the family