Do you know you need to start your estate planning but have little idea where to begin? Are you overwhelmed, intimidated or perhaps even paralyzed because you don’t understand the process? Are you afraid of looking silly in front of a trust and estates attorney because you don’t understand the key terminology? Do you want to help your parents with important aging issues but don’t know how to begin the conversation in a comfortable way? Then Catherine Hodder’s new book is for you!

Catherine manages to demystify the estate planning process. She outlines 10 easy steps to getting your affairs in order. As an attorney who specializes in trusts and estates, Catherine is able to take complex legal issues and simply them into easy-to-understand, easy-to-follow steps. Furthermore, she provides real-world scenarios from her own family as well as her clients. These practical examples are invaluable because they shed light on issues or questions we might otherwise not think of.

If you think you might benefit from the 10-steps part of the book, then you are really going to love the second half about the sometimes-awkward conversations to have with your parents. Catherine uses a combination of humor, compassion and common sense to tackle the subject of how best to initiate conversations with your parents about sometimes thorny topics. She includes conversation starters as well as lists of questions that will really help you get to the heart of the matter in short order. She includes tips for dealing with siblings as well as stubborn parents. Again, her real world experience and actual stories make this section a must read!

Catherine’s book is well researched, practical, concise and easy-to-read. The information and insights could be real game changers for any family wanting to educate itself about estate planning and how best to deal with aging parents. I highly recommend that you add it to your summer reading list today!

You can also read an interview with Catherine.

Eileen Edmunds

Eileen Filliben Edmunds, JD/MBA is a cancer advocate and was awarded the Susan G. Komen Award for her efforts. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.