Communication is key in making future family decisions

Date: Jul 08, 2011

A commonly cited cause of family friction is a break-down in communications. Family members can sometimes have trouble making their intents and wishes clear simply because they don’t know how to begin.

Such communication barriers can lead to tension amongst family members. They can find dealing with family matters extremely draining, both emotionally and physically.

This is especially true when it comes to the important procedure of estate planning. Siblings may require assurance while children, partners or ex-partners may be unsure of their legal responsibilities.

Having a current legal will is an effective way to assure your family of their entitlements in regards to your estate.

There are several simple activities you can use to help reduce family tensions and promote communication during this process.

Identify the source of tension - take the time to identify just what it is you are feeling and why. A solid session of introspection can help you to get to grips with the key cause of a conflict.

Think about others - putting yourself in the other person's shoes can give you valuable insight into their thoughts and behaviour. It can help you gain a feel of how their actions are a reflection of their mental state - letting you focus on how your actions affect them.

Talk it over - take the time to ask loved ones question focused on their feelings. Active listening will show them that you are interested in hearing their opinions and are dedicated to helping them. Make use of this opportunity to gain their input, rather than leaving your property's future in the uncertain hands of the state.

Define desired outcomes - using the points above, work on identifying points of disagreement and finding actionable solution. Make sure that all parties have their say without interruption, then work on finding common ground for mutually equitable resolution.

Write it down - this step ensures that all parties are certain where they stand and gives them a chance to contribute to the solution in a truly physical sense. The act of writing out points of concern solidifies the abstract nature of the previous conflict and provides a starting pint for reconciliation.

Get advice - now that you have a solid understanding of your family concerns and points of commonality, it is time to put this information to work. It’s a good idea at this point to consult a professional to help you navigate the legal workings involved to avoid an estate dispute in the future.

An accredited wills and estates lawyer can help you develop a legal property settlement agreement. They can provide advice on the structure and processes involved as well as the legal options available to you and your family.