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 things 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 then. 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 together only several times a year during the holidays, take advantage of another time during the long weekend 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 doing 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 know your healthcare preferences. 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 with them, 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 documented your own wishes yet, resolve to do so right away. Simply sharing your wishes verbally is not legally binding. The only way you can ensure that your unique goals and objectives will be carried out is to engage in estate planning.
Having these conversations and documenting your wishes may be uncomfortable, but doing so 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.