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How do I talk to my family about life insurance?

Do you prefer to learn by watching? We answer this question in a video below. Click here to jump ahead.

During the holiday season, we often look around with feelings of gratitude and pride. You’re thankful to be where you are and who you’re with. You’ve even planned ahead for the future of your loved ones gathered around you. And you know what? It’s important to tell them. Let’s discuss family legacy.

You want your family to know that you have a plan.

It’s not an easy conversation, but it’s an important one. As a provider, you are expected to have a plan for the future. It’s in your power now to plan for the legacy you want to leave behind.

There are tools to help you plan. A life insurance plan and a will are two of the most basic, and necessary, financial tools to have.

Creating powers of attorney to plan for the unexpected is also something to consider. For financial matters that relate to business ownership, a large estate or inheritances, working with a financial advisor is recommended due to potentially complex tax scenarios.

There are also the personal and emotional sides to consider when discussing your legacy. Talk to your family about why you want certain things to happen after you die. It’s best not to have any surprises in your will.

For example, if you are leaving a sum of money to a charity that could come as a surprise to your family, it’s a good idea to discuss this before you pass away. Or, if you plan on leaving different amounts of money to different children, it’s helpful to explain your reasoning behind your decisions to avoid family conflicts in the future. The more clear you can be about what you want the better.

Now may also be a good time to talk about any family traditions or heirlooms that you want to pass on to future generations.

Having a discussion about your family legacy in person is meaningful.

When you have everyone together in person, you have their undivided attention and can have an open and honest conversation without leaving someone out. Trying to discuss this serious topic over the phone can result in someone hearing the wrong information or perhaps not even listening.

Sit down with everyone, record notes (or record the conversation) and get it all out in the open. If you have wishes written down, make copies and give to everyone involved.

Let everyone know ahead of time that you will be sitting down and talking about your wishes. Bringing up how you’d like your life insurance death benefit handled while eating pumpkin pie may not go over so well. If people know ahead of time, you can plan accordingly and not rush through the conversation of discussing family legacy.

Talking about death can evoke emotion, but reminding your family that discussing life insurance and your family legacy isn’t about death, it’s about protecting the ones you love.

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The holidays are a joyous time and the conversation doesn’t have to be depressing.

You are in charge of setting the tone. Talking about death can evoke emotion, but reminding your family that discussing life insurance and discussing family legacy isn’t about death, it’s about protecting the ones you love. 

Talking about our wants and wishes while we are alive and healthy will allow for less stress in the long run. It can be emotional turmoil for families who have loved ones die prior to having these discussions.

After you’ve had this tough conversation about discussing family legacy, it will make it easier to revisit in the future. Your wishes may change over time. If you make changes to your will, it’s wise to share it with your loved ones so they understand the changes weren’t made in error and are truly what you wanted. Ultimately, you will have peace of mind knowing that your wishes and legacy are in order.

If you don’t have a plan in place just yet, now might be the time to think about it. Contact the team at Quotacy if you are concerned about your life insurance needs. You can start by running a term life quote to see cost estimates. You aren’t required to enter any personal contact information until you are ready to apply.


Photo credit to: LenDog64


Watch the Talking to Family About Life Insurance Video

Video Transcript

Welcome to Quotacy’s Q&A Friday where we answer your life insurance questions. Quotacy is an online life insurance broker where you can get life insurance on your terms.

I’m Jeanna and I’m Natasha.

Today’s question is:

How do I talk to my family about life insurance?

Life insurance is definitely not an easy topic to discuss but it’s one of the most important discussions you can have with your family.

No one wants to think about the possibility of losing someone you love but if you rely on someone financially or there are people who rely on you you can’t afford not to talk about life insurance.

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The topic of life insurance doesn’t have to be sad or scary you are in charge of setting the tone of the conversation. Make it more relaxing and casual rather than serious and heavy.

There’s really no perfect time to bring it up but doing so in a normal setting rather than during a stressful time is much easier.

I remember when my dad first told me about his life insurance. I was probably 25 or so and I was standing in his kitchen and he brought me a copy of his policy’s summary page. And then he nonchalantly said “Keep this for your files for you and your sister. It’s my life insurance for when I die.”

At the time I didn’t think much of it, but fast forward three years later, and my dad passed away after battling cancer. The life insurance death benefit helped us pay off his debt and it enabled me to pay off my student loans.

When my dad passed away, my siblings and I had no idea if he had life insurance. He never spoke of it and I guess we didn’t ask the question because we thought it was awkward. Unfortunately, he did not have life insurance. So, two lessons were learned: the importance of talking about life insurance and the importance of having life insurance.

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As Jeanna said, it can be awkward. We’re not here saying it’s the easiest family discussion. In fact, it’s probably up there on the cringe-worthy level of the birds-and-the-bees talk.

But it needs to be done. Sometimes, the best way to begin the conversation of life insurance is to tie it into an event that’s in the news. Or maybe following the death of someone your family knows who didn’t have life insurance and died unexpectedly.

Make it clear to your loved ones that you plan to be around for a long time but also have planned ahead to protect them just in case.

Guide the discussion to be more about the future and how you want them to have financial security if you are not there to provide for them.

Be sure to tell them where you plan on storing the life insurance policy and how to contact your agent or the insurance company directly.

And be open to answering questions. This may also be a good opportunity to talk about your final wishes. For example, do you want to be cremated? Or maybe you prefer to have your body donated to science.

Talk to your family about why you want certain things to happen after you die. Avoid having your family find any surprises in your will. For example, if you’re planning to leave a sum of money to charity tell your family about it. Or if you plan on leaving different amounts of money to different children it’s helpful to explain your reasoning behind your decisions to avoid future family conflicts.

After you’ve had this tough conversation, it’ll make it easier to revisit in the future.

And your life insurance needs may change down the line so don’t forget to review your policy annually and after every big life event.

If you have any questions about life insurance, make sure to leave us a comment. And if you’re ready to get quotes, check out Quotacy.com.

We’re here to help you find the best deal on the life insurance you want.

About the writer

Headshot of Jeanna Simonson, Life Insurance Marketing Content and Social Media at Quotacy, Inc. in Minneapolis. Holiday gift ideas.

Jeanna Simonson

Marketing Content and Social Media

Jeanna has a passion for letting her creativity shine. At Quotacy she manages social media, is a co-host of Quotacy's Q&A Friday YouTube channel, and enjoys writing here and there. When she's not at the office, you can find her hanging with her husband and rescue animals, brunching with girlfriends, or loving up on her nieces and nephews. Connect with her on LinkedIn.