Thanksgiving is a great time for family and friends to get together and celebrate each other and all that is important in our lives. Personally, it’s my favorite holiday and I look forward to it all year long. But besides the table of delicious food, the football games and the merriment, Thanksgiving is a time for reflection on our good fortune and reconnect with those we care about. Estate planning may not necessarily seem like good table talk, but here are a few reasons why it should at least be in the back of your mind this holiday.
First and foremost, estate planning is designed to protect and benefit those you care about most. Whether that means ensuring that your hard earned assets will most fully benefit your loved ones by reducing taxes on your estate, allowing your family to avoid the cost and confusion of probate by utilizing a trust, creating clear inheritance and guardian plans in your will, or simply ensuring that your family will be legally empowered to care for you should you need it using health care proxies and durable powers of attorney, the idea is the same.
Secondly, the holidays are a time when people who may not see each other as often as they like get together to celebrate and reminisce. It is therefore the perfect time to take stock of everyone’s personal circumstances. Has something occurred in the family that would cause you to alter your estate plan? Does one person need more consideration than another? Is anyone’s health or mental clarity in jeopardy? If an elder in your family is in or nearing a nursing home placement it could affect the entire family’s estate planning. What does a change in family circumstances mean to you and your plan?
Finally, Thanksgiving is a time to think about others. Is there someone in your family who should be thinking about their plan for the future but, for whatever reason, is not? It may be a good time to let them know you care about them and want to make sure they are protected.
Hopefully that’s a little food for thought this Thanksgiving…now on to the turkey! Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.