Having THE Talk With Your Family

Kolleen Schocke |

While many life events provide us with adequate time to prepare, such as marriage, the birth of a child, or retirement, others—like accidents, injuries, or the death of a loved one—can happen without notice or a chance to prepare emotionally or financially. Knowing where to find important legal documents and financial information in the days following unexpected events can help reduce stress in a time of crisis and help your family avoid mistakes that may be difficult to reverse later.


The ideal time to initiate important discussions concerning legal and financial matters and end-of-life wishes is well before an illness, incapacitation, or death occurs. This helps to ensure that your loved ones:

  • Know the location of key documents, like wills, trust documents, birth and marriage certificates, Social Security information, life insurance policies, and safe deposit box keys. It’s also a good idea to inform your grown children about the location of important documents in the event of an accident or illness while you’re traveling.
  • Understand your wishes regarding funeral arrangements, organ donation, and burial or cremation.
  • Are aware of advance directives including living wills, which specify wanted and unwanted procedures including do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. These documents should also be readily available to take to the hospital if needed.

Creating an emergency plan for unexpected challenges is a great first step, communicating your wishes to your family is the crucial next step. If you have questions or concerns about how you can help ensure your financial matters are in order, reach out to our team to help you with your estate plan.

C-J Advisory, Inc. is a registered investment adviser located in San Jose, CA. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any level of skill or training and is not an endorsement of any regulatory agency.

The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel.