Managing Difficult Emotions During Estate Planning

Learn how to navigate the various estate planning emotions with these effective strategies.

Tips to Navigate the Personal Side of Planning for the Future

For most of us, thinking about things like preparing for the end of life, selecting a guardian to raise our children, or choosing someone to manage our assets is uncomfortable – to say the least. Even though it can be a challenging experience, difficult estate planning emotions are normal. The process itself is essential for securing your legacy and ensuring your family is cared for according to your wishes. So, no matter how uncomfortable or awkward you may feel navigating the process, it’s important that you work through the discomfort so that you can gain peace of mind.

Because estate planning involves confronting mortality, family dynamics, and potential conflicts, use the tips below to help navigate difficult estate planning emotions effectively as you get your affairs in order.

Tip #1: Acknowledge and Validate Your Estate Planning Emotions

As you go through the estate planning process, it’s important to acknowledge and make space for any emotions that may arise. Estate planning can bring up feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, and even guilt. Make an effort to allow yourself to experience these emotions without judgment or self-criticism. Understand that it is entirely normal to feel overwhelmed or conflicted during this process. By remembering that all your feelings about the process are valid, you can begin to reflect on where they’re coming from and better navigate the complexities of your estate planning process.

Tip #2: Communicate Openly with Loved Ones

Estate planning typically involves decisions that impact your loved ones. Engaging in open and honest conversations with them can help to foster understanding and reduce potential conflicts in the future. Share your intentions, concerns, and expectations regarding your estate plan. By discussing your decisions and the reasons behind them, you provide your loved ones with clarity and the opportunity to express their thoughts. This open dialogue can lead to mutual understanding and prevent misunderstandings or disputes down the line.

SEE ALSO: Tips for Navigating an Inheritance

Tip #3: Seek Professional Guidance

As you may have experienced yourself, estate planning emotions can be overwhelming on their own, to say nothing of the legal and financial intricacies that the process requires. It can help to utilize the services of an experienced estate planning attorney or financial advisor who can provide you with expert support and guidance. Professionals in this area have an in-depth knowledge of estate planning laws and can help you understand the implications of your decisions in ways you may never have been able to see. They can also answer your questions, provide objective advice, and help you navigate any challenges that may arise.

Tip #4: Take Your Time

Estate planning is not a process that should be rushed. It requires thoughtful consideration of your options and careful decision-making. Give yourself ample time to evaluate your assets, consider potential beneficiaries, and review legal documents. Rushing through the process may result in regret or overlooked details. If you need to, take breaks and allow yourself the necessary time to process your estate planning emotions so that you can return to the task with a clear mind. Though the process may take longer, it will likely help you make more well-informed decisions that align with your values and goals.

Tip #5: Focus on Your Goals

Speaking of goals, they can be helpful to fall back on when you begin to feel overwhelmed by estate planning emotions. As you’re working through difficult feelings, do your best to stay focused on the finish line. Don’t forget what the primary purpose of estate planning is – ensuring your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. By staying committed to keeping your intentions at the forefront, you can feel empowered knowing that you’re making the right decisions to align with your desires. Having clarity with regard to your goals is a helpful way to reduce emotional conflicts you might experience so you can make more objective decisions.

SEE ALSO: The Difference Between Having an Estate Plan and a Wealth Plan

Tip #6: Review and Update Regularly

Estate planning is not a one-time event. Life circumstances can change, so it’s essential to review and update your estate plan periodically. Any time you encounter a significant life event such as marriage, divorce, a birth, or the acquisition of new assets, it may necessitate revisions to your plan. Regularly revisit your estate plan to ensure it reflects your current wishes and aligns with any changes in your life. By proactively reviewing and updating your plan, you can help to minimize future emotional and legal complications and ensure that your estate plan remains up-to-date and relevant.

Final Thoughts on Navigating Difficult Feelings During the Estate Planning Process

Managing difficult estate planning emotions requires self-awareness, open communication, and proactive self-care. It’s important to keep in mind that even though it may be difficult or uncomfortable, without an estate plan in place you can’t be sure that your wishes will be met once you’re gone. There is security in knowing your family will be provided for if something happens to you.

Remember, too, that qualified professionals are available to help you navigate the process. At Aviance Capital Partners, our team of financial advisors is dedicated to building relationships with our clients and providing personalized and comprehensive financial planning services. If you feel that you would benefit from a conversation with one of our advisors about your estate planning needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Aviance Capital Partners, LLC (“ACP”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Naples, Florida. Registration as an investment adviser is not an endorsement by securities regulators and does not imply that ACP has attained a certain level of skill, training, or ability. While information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, ACP does not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Not all services will be appropriate or necessary for all clients, and the potential value and benefit of the ACP’s services will vary based upon the client’s individual investment, financial, and tax circumstances. The effectiveness and potential success of a financial plan depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the manner and timing of implementation, coordination with the client and the client’s other engaged professionals, and market conditions. The tax and estate planning information provided is general in nature, which should not be construed as specific financial planning or tax advice tailored to an individual reader. ACP suggests that readers consult a financial professional, attorney or tax advisory professional about their specific financial, legal or tax situation. Customized financial planning indicates that financial planning will be informed by the material financial and investment circumstances of the client, as communicated by the client to the adviser, but may not consider literally all aspects of a client’s financial affairs. Past investment performance does not guarantee future results. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss, and different investments and types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. There can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including those undertaken or recommended by ACP, will be profitable or equal any historical performance level. Additional information about ACP, including its Form ADV Part 2A describing its services, fees, and applicable conflicts of interest and its Form CRS is available upon request and at

For current ACP clients, please advise us promptly in writing, if there are ever any changes in your financial situation or investment objectives, if you wish to impose any reasonable restrictions to our management of your account, or if you have not been receiving at least quarterly account statements from your account custodian.

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