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We want to begin this post by wishing our readers a happy Thanksgiving and hope that all of them had a good time visiting with family, friends and loved ones. Indeed, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, and it is an opportunity to make more memories and stories that will be passed down for generations.

For each family, there are a number of unwritten rules regarding dinner time conversations. Basically, it is probably best for family members (and guests) to avoid discussions about religion, family secrets, politics (of course) and most of all…money. These topics often lead to untenable assumptions, hurt feelings and fractured relationships that could take years to heal. 

Nevertheless, discussions about money, family legacies and estate planning don’t have to lead to disasters, especially when they are genuine. This post will provide some helpful tips to that end.

Exemplify a current event – Recent and seminal news stories are good ways to introduce the topic of estate planning. This can be especially helpful in showing how a good estate plan can reduce family angst and save money.

Find out about values – Ultimately, estate planning is about passing on values, not just property and money. So having discussions about values can unearth what would be best in an estate plan.

Know the limits – Estate planning is a process, so understanding when a person is overwhelmed by a discussion (especially an elderly person) is important. It is best to use this time to broach the question and then refer a person to an experienced estate planning attorney.