With so many activities during the holidays, estate planning may be the last thing on your mind. However, it’s actually a great time to think about your estate planning goals and to communicate them with your family members, especially if it’s the one time of year that you’re all together in-person. Here are a few ways that you can address estate planning during the holidays.
Explain Medical Preferences
Family members often have either no understanding, or an incorrect understanding, of your preferences when it comes to medical treatment and life saving measures. You can eliminate these disputes by making those wishes known. With everyone on the same page, your family can be united and supportive of one another should you experience an illness, rather than fighting over your care.
Discuss Your Will and Trust
If you are leaving unequal assets to your children or have any unusual arrangements in your will or trust, discuss this with them. You likely have a good explanation for treating them differently. You can help them understand your reasons, assuming they are logical and fair reasons, and can help them work through differences. Learning about it after your death can lead to resentment and broken relationships, which are less likely to be mended if you are not there to help moderate it. Although these discussions can be difficult, they are important.
Address the Family Business
If you own a family business, there’s normally a lot to discuss. What are your succession plans? Will certain family members play an active role in the business? Will others retain ownership but no active role? Are you distributing the business assets and the personal assets differently? And if so, why? Helping your family understand your plans and preferences is particularly critical for family-owned businesses.
Help Your Children Prepare Their Own Plans
If you have adult children, the holidays are a good time for you to pass down some of your own knowledge about estate planning. Even young adults need estate planning. Help them think about decisions that need to be made. Encourage them to get documents in place to protect their own interests and to provide for their families should something happen to them.
More on Estate Planning During the Holidays
Estate planning during the holidays need not be a stressful or difficult thing. It can actually help unite families. As you are gathered for the holidays, take a moment to have these important discussions with your family. Open and honest communication beforehand can preserve family relationships and help everyone cope with a loss in the future.
For assistance with your estate planning needs, schedule a consultation with our experienced team. As Massachusetts estate planning attorneys we can help you with all aspects of your estate plan. For those with an existing estate plan in place, we can also review and update your plan as needed.