Home for the Holidays – A Guide to Discussing Estate Planning With Family

The holidays are here — it’s time for festive family gatherings, holiday movies, and wonderful feasts shared by all. As we mentioned in the cover story, discussing the future and estate planning during this time can be difficult. Still, because it’s often a time when everyone is gathered together for the first time in months (or since last yHome for the Holidaysear’s festivities), it’s also a great opportunity to broach the topic.

Here are some tips on how to initiate and navigate a conversation about estate planning during the holiday season.

Choose the right moment.

Selecting an appropriate moment for this conversation is vital. Avoid high-stress times or when emotions are running high. Opt for a calm, relaxed atmosphere, perhaps after a meal when everyone is settled.

Frame it as a positive step.

Approach the conversation with a positive tone. Emphasize that estate planning is a responsible and caring way to ensure the well-being of the family in the future. Highlight the peace of mind that comes from having a plan in place.

Introduce your own plans.

Sharing your own thoughts on estate planning can set the stage for an open discussion. Mention any steps you’ve taken or express your intention to begin the process. This personal touch can make the conversation more relatable and less intimidating.

Keep it inclusive.

Encourage an inclusive discussion by seeking input from all family members.
This not only ensures everyone’s perspectives are considered but also fosters a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility.

Address concerns with sensitivity.

Acknowledge that discussing matters of inheritance and estate planning can be sensitive. Create an environment where family members feel comfortable expressing their concerns or fears. Be empathetic and listen actively to foster an open dialogue.


Discussing estate planning during the holiday season might seem challenging, but it is one of the most loving conversations we can have. By approaching the conversation with care, emphasizing the positive aspects, and keeping the dialogue inclusive, families can collaboratively create a plan that ensures a secure and harmonious future. In the spirit of the season, embracing these discussions can foster a sense of unity and shared responsibility, making it a valuable gift for the entire family.


Andrea Shoup