It seems unfitting to bring up serious matters like your Estate Plan during the holidays, but it may actually be the best time to do it. There are few times during the year that entire families gather, and this provides an opportunity that might not otherwise arise.
This year, arrange a time to discuss the details of your estate plan with your loved ones. Scheduling ahead will eliminate surprise and give your family some time to prepare. If you’re still not convinced, consider the five following reasons the holidays can be the best time to talk about your estate plan:
1. An estate plan is a gift your family will thank you for
The time of your death or incapacity can lead to a lot of emotions and confusion for family members. If you’ve left them little to no instruction on how to handle matters, it will only make things harder on those you care about most.
A thorough and thoughtful plan can help lead your family through this difficult time. It will also allow them peace of mind that they have followed your wishes.
2.You can go over designations
If you have designated family members to fulfill a specific role in your long-term care, now is a good time to remind them of their future responsibilities. This is also a great time to double check that they are still comfortable with this assignment.
3. It will leave little room for arguments or legal battles
You love your family and you want them to continue to care for each other, even after you’re gone. An estate plan is a blanket of protection that allows your family to avoid conflict or lawsuits over your estate. Going over specifics during the holidays while everyone is present will lessen future confusion amongst relatives.
It’s also important to be firm and clear when discussing inheritance. This can be a touchy subject, but failing to make inheritance clear can lead to unnecessary family feuds. If you’ve left assets in a trust, now is a good time to discuss how and when they will be distributed.
4. You can remind them where your documents are stored
Remind everyone where your important documents such as wills or trusts are located, and who you’d like to handle them. If you’ve secured the documents in a safety deposit box, go over the steps to gain access to them with the person you’ve authorized.
5. It’s a great time to reinforce your family values
You’ve put a lot of effort into raising your family, and you want everyone to hold onto the values you’ve taught them, even when you’re not there. The holidays are sentimental, which also makes them a good time to remind your family of the hard work that was put into any inheritance they may be receiving.
Remember, preparedness is one of the greatest gifts you could give to your family in a time of uncertainty. You can’t predict the future but you can plan for it, and what better time than the holidays while surrounded by the people you love.