When you think of Thanksgiving, you probably think of the fun time you’ll spend with family and friends, the football games, and, of course, all the delicious food you’re going to eat. Whether you’re the one cooking or one of your family members is, Thanksgiving gives you the chance to enjoy what matters most: family, food, and togetherness. With that sense of family also comes all the obligations and responsibilities attached. Providing your family with security and safety is doable if you have an estate plan. If estate planning is relatively new to you, you can remember the major documents just by looking on your Thanksgiving table.
If there’s one thing you don’t want to be, it’s the turkey on Thanksgiving. A turkey has a pretty short life thanks to this holiday, and death comes pretty unexpectedly to the unlucky bird. You can’t always be prepared for everything, and unfortunately, we humans can sometimes meet a sudden, turkey-like ending (minus the holiday dinner part). This is why putting off estate planning is never a good idea. Getting together a living trust, last will, or other documents to give instructions about your assets after you die is essential to ensuring that you’re prepared. You might think that you have time, but you never know that for sure. It’s best not to put it off.
The Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes can seem pretty boring, but they’re one of the most important Thanksgiving side dishes. When prepared correctly, they’re pretty much essential to the meal. This is somewhat like estate planning itself. This field of law can seen boring and dull, but it actually is vitally important. The legal arena wouldn’t be the same without it. Estate planning handles all the posthumous things that would bog down the courts were they left undone. When your estate documents are correctly prepared, they become extremely important, whether they appear boring or not.
One day, most of us are also going to be vegetables. That sounds morbid, but it’s just true. There comes a time where most people enter end of life care and aren’t really with it mentally. Decision-making becomes difficult, and even communication struggles. Documents such as a power of attorney and healthcare directive can ensure that your life decisions are handled for you. A power of attorney controls your finances, and a directive tells hospitals and doctors any particulars about your medical care. While it’s no fun to think about and compose—instructions about your own dying are not exactly a thrill a minute—they are important to the process of a smooth transition for your family.
The Pumpkin Pie
Last but not least, there is the pumpkin pie (or any type of dessert, really). This is the extra on top of the meal. There are a lot of documents in estate planning like this. They don’t necessarily make up the meat and potatoes of the meal, but they’re an important addendum. Documents pertaining to niche assets like Bitcoin, antiques, collector’s items, and more are examples of these “extras.” You want to get the big stuff into the estate plan, of course. But, you also don’t want to ignore the smaller, more unique things that are still of great value to you and your family.
As you can see, the Thanksgiving table gives you a way that you can remember the major documents in an estate plan. These aren’t all the documents that you’ll need, of course, but they are the main ones, and they give you a sense of what estate planning is all about. Your family deserves a sense of security, and proper planning will provide that. When you’re spending time with them, think about ways you can improve or update plans you have in place already. Have a happy Thanksgiving!