The holidays are a time for family and friends to enjoy each other and reflect on the deeper meaning of the season. Since so many people travel to get together with those family members they may not see every day, the holidays are a great time to have conversations about your plan for wealth management and personal care.
Now, I know, sitting at the Christmas dinner table talking about dying and the plight of nursing homes in America isn’t exactly upbeat and fun. But there are a lot of conversations to be had that are meaningful and necessary, and you as the planner have the opportunity to display care for and trust in the ones you love. So here are some conversations you might have with the ones you love around Christmastime.
1. Ask a family member if they would be willing to make financial transactions for you.
When doing a power of attorney or choosing a personal representative of your estate, it’s really important to make sure the person you’ve chosen is on board with carrying out the duties. So, before you start naming people you’re sure would be great, why not ask them if they think they would be great at it too? That way, the person you choose to do this important work can mentally prepare and ask whatever questions they may have about your financial situation, your wishes, and the job you’re giving them ahead of time.
2. Tell people what you’re giving them in advance.
If you already have a will, intend to get a will in the near future, have already executed a transfer on death deed or done some beneficiary designations, let people know in advance that they can expect a gift. If the gifts you’re giving to your family are unequal, you might consider telling your family why. I know that means ruining the surprise, but it’s a worse surprise when someone thinks they’re getting a different gift or a larger gift than they actually do. Since you are in control of your will, your finances and your gifting, why not also manage your family’s expectations? It could limit fighting and resentment after you’re gone.
3. Since you already have them cornered, ask your family members if they have estate plans.
Being planful is important for everyone; not just grandma, who is 86 years old. So, give your family members the gentle reminder that planning for their own wealth management and personal physical and financial care is a gift not just to themselves but to the entire family as well.
Merry Christmas and have a safe and blessed holiday season.