‘Tis the season for sweet family moments and nights spent by the fire with your favorite seasonal treats. With the family together again for the holidays, it's the perfect time to catch up and foster the relationships and memories that mean the most to us. It can also be the ideal time to plan for the future.
While you may not immediately think so, the holidays are a great time to think about your Estate Plan. What you would want to happen in a medical emergency, your last wishes, and who should inherit your most cherished items. As time slows down a bit and you make some space for family gatherings, you may also want to have a conversation or two with those who mean the most about your plans for the future.
Here are 5 reasons to create an Estate Plan this holiday season:
The Whole Family is Together
Conversations around estate planning can be uncomfortable. End-of-life plans and who gets the family home after you're gone can be difficult to talk about. But while the whole family is together over the holidays, these conversations can be a little easier and mean a little more.
Whether your family loves to string popcorn and cranberries for the tree, make wreaths with fresh boughs of holly, bake cookies, make candy, head to the ski cabin, or participate in a yearly charity run, the traditions that we enjoy as a family bring us together. They allow us to deepen connections with members of our families and have some meaningful discussions.
After the children have had time to settle in, but before the festivities begin, take some quality time to speak with them about your plans for the future. If you want some more help with knowing how to start estate planning conversations over the holidays, click here.
You Finally Have the Time
The holidays can be a busy time. But it's a different kind of busy. There are fewer day-to-day obligations, and the distractions that come up are more family-centered and, hopefully, less work-related. And the errands that come with the holiday season, like shopping and baking, can be excellent bonding moments that lead to honest conversations about the future.
If you've put off naming an Executor for your Estate, the holiday season is a good time to have that conversation. The Executor is responsible for overseeing your entire Estate through Probate Court, including ensuring that your last wishes are honored, paying your creditors, and distributing assets to their intended Beneficiaries.
Family heirlooms like fine china and handmade decorations are a centric part of the holidays. Getting them out to enjoy over the winter months with your family can make you think about who you might want to leave them to when you're ready to pass them on. Before the time comes to pack these special items up for another year, carve out some time this holiday season to make sure they're on the list of assets in your Will.
You're Thinking About the Future
The holiday season is a time to be grateful for the people in your life and the Christmas magic of wondering what could be. As you and your family plan for the future, you may also want to plan to update your Will or Trust-Based Estate Plan. You might have a new family member or two to add.
Many engagements begin on one knee in front of the picturesque tree on Christmas morning. If you're adding a new son or daughter-in-law over the next year, you may want to update your Will to include them in your Estate Plan. Has someone come home to announce the impending arrival of a new addition to the family? You may want to add an education fund to your Estate Plan.
No one knows what the future has in store. The holiday season is full of milestones and special occasions to celebrate, all of which typically require updating your Estate Plan.
You've Added Something to Your Estate
While not the reason for the season, the holidays are a time of gift-giving. Many families use this time to plan large gifts that they wouldn't be able to give throughout the year. If you inherit property or money this holiday season, you may want to include it in your Estate Plan. After all, if a new vehicle showed up in your driveway in a big red bow, you want to know your family will know what to do with it if something were to happen to you.
Many families gather for the holidays to pass down sentimental gifts through generations, preserving their heritage for those who will come next. If you have these cherished possessions, you may know exactly whom they should go to next and will need to designate that in your Will.
You may even want to give the gift of an Estate Plan this holiday season. If you're the child of a senior, it may be time to have a heart-to-heart about your parent's future. If they have been reluctant to have a conversation about it before now, it could be a good way to open that dialogue while protecting their best interests.
If Not Now, When?
There's no time like the present—holiday pun fully intended. As we've discussed above, the holiday season is a time when the whole family comes together to celebrate the season and all they must be grateful for. It's a time of bonding and looking forward to the future, and it's the perfect time to ensure that you're protecting yourself and your family, no matter what happens.
Time is of the essence, and here at Trust & Will, we make it easy to get started on your Estate Plan. Our fully customized Estate Plans include state-specific documents created by knowledgeable attorneys and an expert team standing by to help if you have any questions. By answering a few online questions about yourself and your family, Trust & Will can walk you through the process step by step. Most people complete everything in about 15 minutes!
Creating an Estate Plan online over the holidays has never been easier. You'll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner. Get started this holiday season!