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Should you bring up estate planning during the holidays?

The gut-check reaction is probably, "No, don't dampen the festive mood with talk of depressing matters." Experts, however, often disagree with your gut reaction. They say talking about estate planning doesn't have to be depressing, and the holidays often come with benefits no other time does.

First, know that when estate planning topics are broached in a caring and tactful manner, they can be uplifting. Whether you're talking to an older parent about getting their affairs in order or you want to pass on some information about your estate planning efforts to adult children, the reasons for the discussions are love and concern. Those go hand-in-hand with much of what the holidays are about for many.

During the holidays, many people are less pressured by work and might even have taken time off to be with friends and family. While there are certainly many activities going on, when you are able to get a quiet moment with loved ones, they are more likely to be able to concentrate on what you are saying than at other times in the year. That's true, assuming, of course, that you don't bring up the subject after a few rounds of egg nog -- make sure to pick your timing well.

Holidays are also a time when more adult members of the immediate family might be likely to be in one place. Talking estate matters with everyone at once can reduce issues of miscommunication and help you plan together for the good of the entire family.

Before you broach topics with your loved ones, make sure you know what your wishes and rights are. You might want to talk to an estate lawyer first.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Holidays, the Best Time to Discuss Important Family Estate Plans?," Christopher Burgess, accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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