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 ‘We need to talk’: Conversation starters and tips

In order to avoid hurt, confusion or disputes between your family or between those you care about, it is recommended that you talk openly with them. You should tell them how your affairs will be managed after your death and your wishes regarding how your estate will be distributed. It is also advisable that you have a conversation with an independent professional, such as a solicitor, bank manager or accountant in which you seek their advice as to what is the best arrangement for you.

You may find it difficult to start a conversation about your intentions regarding the distribution of your estate after your death. This is a sensitive topic and you may feel hesitant about bringing it up. These conversation starters and tips are intended to encourage you to find the right words and the right time both for you and for those around you.

Top Tips

Be prepared. Plan the conversation beforehand and if you find it helpful write down a few opening statements which you can bring with you to the conversation. Ask yourself some key questions:

  • What is your purpose for having this conversation?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • What would be an ideal outcome?

Never make a decision on the spot. This is your money and you have the right to take your time in considering what is best for you. State clearly that you will not make a decision straight away, that you will consider your options and discuss them with your family/friend/financial advisor/solicitor. It is also strongly recommended that you bring a pen and paper with you into the conversation so that you can take notes about what is discussed and what is agreed.

University College Dublin (UCD)National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)Health Services Executive (HSE)Older People's Empowerment Network (OPEN)
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