How to Tell Your Beneficiary About Your Lantern Plan

How to have “the talk” with the people you love

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Liz Eddy

So, you’ve started a Lantern plan and you’re about to share the plan with your loved ones. You’re likely wondering how on earth to bring this up. 

Firstly, these conversations aren’t easy, but they’re important. Talking about these things doesn't make them any more likely to happen, it just means your loved ones will be more prepared and more in control when they do. 

Why is it important to share your Lantern plan (as soon as possible)?

Simply put, without a plan in place before it’s needed, things are going to be really hard for your loved ones when they need it. Further, the only way to make sure your wishes are honored is to know what those wishes are. Without those questions answered, your loved ones are going to have to make those decisions on your behalf, and that’s a lot to carry.  

And, if you create a plan and don’t share it with anyone: you may as well not have a plan. Your plan can and should be edited over time as life changes happen (new job, new home, change in benefits, additional children, grandchildren, etc.) so don’t wait until it is “perfect” or even “done” to share. This is a living, breathing, plan. It can and should change over time. 

How to bring your Lantern plan up without totally freaking someone out. 

  1. First, come to terms with it yourself. We always like to remind our users that having your affairs in order doesn’t mean you’ll die sooner. However, superstitions are ever-present and bringing this up to your loved ones can be incredibly awkward. Feeling confident in your positioning and decision making heading into the conversation will make it much easier. Plus, research shows acknowledging your own mortality can make you a happier person with stronger relationships. 
  2. Start with the lighter stuff. Recipes, stories, photos. Diving directly into your will and assets often feels impersonal and awkward. Most people don’t like to talk about money, especially when inheriting it means you’re gone. Start by discussing how you want to be sure certain memories or recipes are passed onto future generations. Share photos and write descriptions so your kids know who’s pictured and where it is. 
  3. When it comes to talking business, be direct. At a certain point, you will need to dive into the nitty-gritty of paperwork, assets and so on. When it comes to this stage; be direct and honest. You don’t want there to be any confusion on responsibilities, especially for your chosen executor. Find a quiet and private place where you can walk through your Lantern plan. 
  4. If there are fingers in ears, remind them this is not only normal, but responsible. Talking about your own future death can be really hard on anyone. But, it’s important to remember that we die the way we live. If we are unprepared, messy and chaotic, your kids will be just as unprepared, messy and chaotic after you die. 

Prompts for bringing up your Lantern plan with your beneficiary (or anyone else that should know about it!)

Here are some sample messages you can paste into an email or use to guide your next conversation:

1. Express to them that you’ve been thinking about the future a lot and it’s got your wheels spinning: 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately and I decided to put an end-of-life plan together. It stresses me out to think that you wouldn’t know what to do if something happened to me. I am adding you as a beneficiary to my Lantern plan as a gift to you. You will be receiving an email from shortly.

2. If they’re really unwilling to discuss the topic, make up a friend whose scenario might be a motivator or cautionary tale: 

I have a friend from college who lost her dad last year and she had to go through the whole process making guesses on what he would have wanted. It’s got me thinking about what would happen if I were in her shoes. I want to ensure you have all of the information you need should something happen to me. I am adding you as a beneficiary to my Lantern plan as a gift to you. You will be receiving an email from shortly.

No matter the tactic you choose for broaching the topic, make sure the reason you’re bringing it up is front and center: you don’t want them to agonize over making decisions on your behalf one day. Providing them with this information is, in fact, a selfless act that will make their life easier. 

How to actually share your Lantern Plan. 

  1. Go to your Lantern pre-plan
  2. At the bottom in the yellow box, click Let someone know
  3. Enter the name and email of your desired beneficiary
  4. Encourage them to accept the invitation

While this conversation can be challenging for a number of reasons, it’s not nearly as challenging as not having it at all. At the end of the day, your beneficiaries will be grateful for your thoughtful approach. Plus, they’re guaranteed to get to know you a whole lot better and have the privilege of learning more about you and the life you’ve led. 

Categories: Planning Ahead, Estate Planning and Wills, Talking About Death

Lantern provides guidance and support for navigating life before and after a death.

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