What are some reasons your spouse might want to avoid discussing a Last Will and Testament or other life planning documents? They might include:
- Fear of death
- Fear of loss of control
- Fear of doing the wrong thing
- Mistrust of others
- Other people’s horror stories
- Lack of knowledge
How can you overcome these objections?
- Fear of death: Acknowledge this fear without judging. Remind your spouse of how they have provided for your family in every way (and thank them for that, by the way!) and discuss that this is one more way to provide for the family.
- Fear of loss of control: Remind your spouse that basic estate planning documents such as a Will, financial power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney, can be amended, replaced or revoked. Let them know that if they don’t decide about their future, someone else (the state) will. So instead of losing control, they will retain control – even after death – in deciding how their assets will be distributed.
- Fear of doing the wrong thing: That’s where NetLaw comes in. Our Getting Started SmartGuide asks a series of questions and suggests the documents you might need. You also have an opportunity to connect with an estate planning attorney if you think you need additional advice.
- Mistrust of others: This is a toughie – probably the toughest to overcome. Pose it to your spouse this way: at the end of their life, do they think strangers (meaning the court and the state) are going to have a clear understanding of what they wanted – or is it more likely family members or a close friend can better make those decisions? Help your spouse make a list of the people they would trust in the areas of finances and healthcare. Download the “What You Need to Know” worksheet and provide responses to the questions provided.
- Other people’s horror stories: You might find this one works to your advantage, because usually the horror stories result from a lack of planning and failing to keep an estate plan up to date. Sitting down and thoughtfully considering your future with your spouse will result in one of two decisions:
– You’re ready to use an affordable, online estate planning system to create an your plan
– You need to sit down with an attorney to discuss and develop a plan
- Lack of subject knowledge: Estate planning can be a daunting and intimidating subject. Download “EstatePlanning101” to get started and help your spouse learn the basics about estate planning.
Gentle persistence on any (or all!) of these fronts should eventually result in some forward movement. Good luck!