When it comes to family, money, and death, it’s hard not to feel emotional. And while emotion can be a great motivator for helping us act, it can also cloud our judgment or prevent us from making decisions that are best for ourselves or our loved ones.
As an estate planning attorney, I have seen my fair share of emotions. That’s why I keep a tissue box in hand’s reach at my office anytime I meet with my clients. My favorite story is when I had a young couple come in to name permanent guardians for their baby and after they both logically agreed that the wife’s mother was not a suitable choice, the wife then broke down in tears and sobbed until her husband leaned over to me and said “just put her mother down as the guardian.”
Here are 3 tips for helping you make important estate planning decisions for your family without letting emotion get in the way:
- Involve a Third Party. Whether it’s a counselor, an attorney, or a pastor, having an educated neutral third party present to help you talk through a decision can help temper your emotions. It’s best to use a third party who will not be personally affected by your decision, who is well-educated on the topic at hand, and can provide you real life insight on how your decision will likely play out. You’re also more likely to put on a good game face for the third-party than you would have had you made the decision with just your spouse or alone.
- Use an Objective Process For Making a Decision. Having objective criteria for making a decision can be tremendously helpful. When we help parents name guardians for their children, we take them through an easy three step process that helps them objectively decide on a guardian, rather than just relying on emotion. For example, we have parents identify their top three priorities when it comes to raising their kids. Then we ask them if the people they have in mind for raising their kids meet that objective criteria.
- Don’t Let Other People’s Feelings Influence Your Decisions. Many of our clients are so worried about hurting other people’s feelings when it comes to choosing who should serve in key roles under their estate plan. They think their oldest son will feel hurt if he is not chosen as the trustee, even if he cannot handle large sums of money. They think one sister will be devastated if the other sister is chosen as a guardian. While people’s feelings are important, they should never trump making a decision that it truly best for your children or other beneficiaries.
Making important decisions for your family, especially ones that can be life lasting, requires the help and guidance of a trusted family attorney. Call your Newport Beach estate planning law firm today and learn how our easy process can help you make important decisions that will benefit your family for a lifetime.
To get started on making important decisions for your estate plan, call our Client Services Director, Bonnie Johnson, at 949.718.0420 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and request our free guide “How to Choose a Trustee”, or if you’re ready to get started on making decisions ask Bonnie to schedule a planning session with a Meier Law Firm attorney.