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Why Thanksgiving is the Perfect Time for Estate Planning Conversations

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, Alex Varela, the owner of The Wagon Legacy, wants to share a perspective on an important yet often overlooked topic—estate planning. Many say that Thanksgiving is a time to avoid heavy discussions, but consider this: amidst the delightful Thanksgiving dinner and the joy of watching parades or games, it presents a unique opportunity to broach the subject, especially with those family members who tend to shy away from it.

Thanksgiving gatherings allow us to discuss how our loved ones are doing, contemplate the future, and offer support for their preparations. With everyone gathered, and perhaps a bit in a food coma, the atmosphere becomes conducive to initiating conversations about how they can protect themselves and their future.

Estate planning conversations, particularly with a loved one who may be reluctant, can be challenging. However, if approached with care and sensitivity, these discussions can be a source of support for both parties involved. Timing is key. Choose a moment of relaxation, peace, and privacy to naturally transition into the topic, avoiding anyone feeling attacked.

Ideally, your loved ones may initiate the conversation themselves, but if, like many families, this isn’t the case, taking the initiative is crucial. Start by discussing practical matters, such as the location of important documents and passwords, emphasizing the focus on their well-being rather than financial concerns.

Once these initial questions are addressed, it becomes easier to delve into their plans for the future, should they have one. People often assume that the future will unfold as they envision, but by asking these questions, you gain valuable insights into their desires and values. It also provides them with the opportunity to articulate their wishes, knowing that there’s someone to assist and protect them.

When embarking on these conversations, it’s essential to know the key information that will guide your loved one’s future. Whether they have an existing estate plan or not, ask questions like:

  • Do you have a Trust?
  • Do you have a medical power of attorney?
  • Do you have a financial power of attorney?
  • Where are these documents kept? If they do not have an estate plan:
  • What are your wishes for medical decisions?
  • Do you have an attorney who can put your wishes in writing?
  • Are you ready to set up at least a medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney?

Remember, discussing a loved one’s future and estate planning is rarely a one-time conversation. Starting the dialogue in a relaxed and positive environment can set the tone for productive and non-threatening discussions. While we acknowledge the potential stress and frustration in these talks, rest assured that The Wagon Legacy is here to guide you on this journey, celebrating every step towards protecting your loved ones, their assets, and your family’s future.

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