As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, estate planning is likely the last thing on their mind. Thanksgiving is a time to focus on the blessings for which we are most thankful such as our families, friends, and good health.
Talking about death and incapacity is…well, morbid. It would likely be an unwelcome topic of conversation around the dinner table, so don’t mention it there. Enjoy your meal. Be thankful for all your bounty. Laugh and enjoy your company.
But if you’re a part of a family that gathers only infrequently during holidays, find an opportunity during your long weekend together to discuss estate planning matters that you may have been putting off.
For some couples, it may be asking a sibling or cousin if they would be willing to serve as a guardian for your children. I always recommend you do this in person rather than over the phone so you can get a read on the prospective guardian’s willingness to take on this responsibility.
Or perhaps it’s letting your loved ones your healthcare wishes. For example, if you are terminally ill and have no chance of recovery, would you want to be kept alive by artificial means? Tell them your wishes and explain your reasoning. By sharing your feelings about these issues to your loved ones, you can potentially relieve them of a lot of stress they may experience in making these decisions on their own.
And if you haven’t yet legally documented your wishes, resolve to do so right away. Simply sharing your wishes is not legally binding. The only way you can ensure that your unique estate planning goals and objectives will be carried out is to engage in estate planning.
Having these conversations and documenting your wishes may be uncomfortable, but is something that will bring you and your family peace of mind. And that is something to be thankful for.
I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!
All my best,
This lovely photo is used courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock, www.freerangestock.com., and James R. Gray.