Planning your estate can be an emotionally-charged process, and family lawyers have seen this firsthand through their clients. Whether it causes you stress, fear or confusion, your feelings are valid.
This article shares the top 5 biggest emotional challenges people face with estate planning and how to deal with them productively.
Confronting the unspoken
The first step in making the process of estate planning easier, note family lawyers, is to confront and embrace your mortality. You may find you need the support of a loved one or therapist to do this, or you may be able to do it on your own. For you this might mean coming up with a euphemism like “meet my maker” or “pass on”, or it might mean reading books about mortality to become more comfortable with the idea. Others might feel a superstition that creating a will could encourage death. Speak to a therapist about this for help overcoming it.
Fear of how much it may cost to create a will is another factor that prevents people from starting to plan their estate. But think about it – estate planning is an immense gift to your loved ones, and can help them to cope with your passing when it happens. Creating a will is an act of love and caring for your children and grandchildren, as well as friends and charities if you so wish.
That being said, ask your family lawyers upfront how much they charge. Most will charge a rate by the hour, and it may end up being much more reasonable than you expected. At the end of the day, creating a will is simply in most cases worth the money.
Seeking legal advice
Many people experience fear around going to see family lawyers, usually because of a lack of experience in dealing with them. You might not know what to expect. You might fear that your solicitor will treat you in a patronising way.
But just as a plumber is an expert in fixing leaky pipes, a solicitor is an expert in dealing with legal cases. It simply makes sense to seek support from an expert when you yourself are not one. You might be an excellent engineer or doctor, but that doesn’t make you a legal expert! Most solicitors are actually very polite, respectful and kind, and won’t bombard you with legal jargon; they will speak to you as a fellow human being.
Of course, ensure to do your research to find the best family lawyers for your budget and needs. Ask friends for recommendations, and be sure to have an interview with prospective solicitors to make sure you get along.
Another stressor can be complicated relational ties, especially if you have experienced a separation or divorce. You might be unsure as to where to allocate your assets – how much should go to a grandchild with special needs, or your high-earning step-daughter? Making these decisions can be incredibly challenging and you may feel things like guilt, pressure or uncertainty.
What can make this easier for you is speaking to family lawyers, who can provide you with experienced counselling and advice. Estate planning is a learning curve, so be patient with yourself and be prepared to learn new things.
You don’t have to deal with the stresses of estate planning all on your own – family lawyers are ready to support you. Creating a will is one of the best things you can do to support your loved ones, so be sure to consider it seriously.