Last week we looked at how you can leave lasting memories and lessons in your estate plan to help future generations. This week we’re delving into how you can share and experience thankfulness, even during a global pandemic.
We understand the holidays might look different for you this year. Big meals with your entire extended family under the same roof or meeting up with those you haven’t seen in a while for a friends-giving may not be feasible.
But you can still share your wins and time with each other. We live in a world with Zoom, Skype, Facebook video messenger, and other video sharing platforms. So, while you may not be able to sit next to Grandpa this year, you can still check in with each other and say what has helped get you through the year. To those who’ve lost a loved one, this time may be a reminder of the loss. Sharing memories with other loved ones or the impact they’ve had on your life can help during through the grief and connect you to your family even more.
Care packages can also help you connect with your loved ones. If your family has a traditional holiday meal, preparing it and dropping it off can help you all “share” the same meal from your own homes. Or, if you have young kids who haven’t been able to see their grandparents or relatives in a while, having them draw a picture or make some kind of art for those family members can help it still feel like you are together, while keeping each other safe at the same time.
One thing the pandemic might have taught us is to have appreciation for what we’ve taken for granted like the ability to spend time with each other in person, or the power of a simple smile. It has also taught us to think on our toes. Being adaptive by working or schooling from home. Figuring out creative solutions to spend time with each other. Recognizing when things have gone right and keeping track of them can have a positive impact on your life.
We previously mentioned the benefits of gratitude journals – how they can increase calmness, improve sleep, help you learn more about yourself by evidencing what matters to you – and Thanksgiving is a great time to start documenting what you’re thankful for. Also, if you have young kids and want to start fostering gratitude there are seasonal crafts like writing down what they’re thankful on feathers and adding them to a turkey centerpiece.
Another way to show your appreciation is by supporting a cause that’s important to you. Maybe through keeping track of what you’re grateful for you saw your health continuously on the list and it leads you to donate to a charity like St. Jude or the American Cancer Society. Or it’s something simple like the “mom and pop” store has always had your favorite flavor of ice cream stocked, so you donate to their food drive or shop local and small businesses for the holidays. Or, the animal you chose to foster at the beginning of the pandemic has given you companionship and joy, and you donate to your local animal shelter or humane society.
It might involve a couple of tough conversations and considerations. Who would you like to inherit and how, who would you have step in and take care of minor children, who do you trust to honor your health care wishes? They aren’t light questions, but taking the time to plan for these difficult decisions can take a weight off, and we could all use a little less stress right now.
Your estate plan is more than just a stack of paperwork. It can offer your family protections on their inheritances. It can mean minor or spendthrift children don’t receive a lump sum that they go through in a month. Or what you leave to a loved one with special needs benefits and they aren’t taken advantage of. It can also mean your hard-earned money doesn’t go to creditors or “out-laws” if a family member goes through a divorce.
It can limit stress. Proper estate planning includes titling assets correctly, so your loved ones don’t have to go through paper trails to figure out what accounts or insurance policies you have with different institutions. It can also save them the time and frustration of the probate process.
Estate planning can also ensure your health care preferences are met. What kind of treatment you receive and when are decisions you can give guidance to your agents on, that we believe they will be grateful for. In a medical emergency, when no one is thinking straight, knowing what your wishes are ahead of time can save time and make sure your loved ones have peace of mind that they’re making the decisions you would want.
During this season you can rest easier with your estate plan in place. To find out more about the protections and guidance one can provide you and your family, we offer complimentary initial consultations, contact us at (248) 409-0256 for scheduling.