The holidays mean that many of us are coming together as a family. For those of us who can’t get together in person, calls will be made, emails sent, and, yes, even video conferencing. When it comes to connectivity, just ask me about texting with my kids who demand immediate responses no matter what I’m doing.

Amidst all the joy and catching up, however, we need to make time to check-in on how our family members are really doing. None of us want to be blindsided next year by important concerns and issues we could be addressing right now when we have the time to plan ahead.

I know this is never an easy conversation to have. You may be wondering what you should be asking your parents, siblings and loved ones. The questions that will get the conversation launched into a real, meaningful discussion. To help you, I thought I would share the top three questions I ask when I talk to my extended family during the holidays.

1. How are you?

Three simple words. As easy as it sounds, asking this question is one of the best ways to start a conversation that can be hard for family member to initiate. Make sure you take the time to actively listen to what your family member is saying to you.

2. How can I help you?

Take the time to evaluate your loved one’s long-term care situation. How are they this year as compared to last year? Are they holding steady? Do you see new issues that have arisen recently? Are they taking more prescriptions? Is there a new diagnosis? Do any improvements need to be made to their living environment to handle long-term care issues so they can remain at home?

3. When did you last update your estate plan?

You need to ask your loved ones if their estate planning is up-to-date. You also need to determine what your role is within it. Will you be asked to make health care decisions? Financial? Is your contact information accurate? Will you share responsibility with another family member? Do not wait to address these questions until you are in the middle of a crisis.