I recently asked Google, “How does my family know about my will.” All sorts of articles came up about having the “hard talk.” You know the kind, where you pull your family together around the kitchen table and discuss what happens after you’re gone. Everyone insists you’re too young to be thinking about such things and plasters a too-wide smile on their face to keep the tears at bay. You’ve had them. You’ve encouraged your clients to have them.
It’s a really difficult thing to do and I was happy to see so many resources available for people like your clients. There were suggestions like thinking about the conversation in the context of your values versus money, as Paul A. Merriman recommended in a MarketWatch article published last year.
And about how one-on-one conversations make it easier and more personal when you first broach the topic.
What I didn’t see, though, was much about how your clients are supposed to get their information to their families once they’re gone. The family talk has to happen of course. But that’s only step one. The most important step, the one that matters when it counts, is putting a system in place that ensures the family gets access to the information they need when they need it. All the conversations in the world don’t mean a thing if that doesn’t happen.
Since I was in a Googling mood, I decided to see what the going advice was on where to keep this life-alteringly important information. Where does one store financial and personal information that can change the course of the lives of the people you love?