What Do You Want for Christmas?
This year it seems that most people would just like to have some normalcy with a side dish of peace of mind for the holidays. While normalcy appears to be around the corner, it still is not something we can directly control, but achieving peace of mind just might be something we have some control over! The holidays are just around the corner and it seems as though most people just want the year to be over. 2020, the year of new social norms, new worries, loneliness, and the unknown.
A relatively easy way to achieve peace of mind is to create or update your estate plan, yet there is a disconnect between most Americans' concerns and their actions. According to a recent WealthCounsel study, 71% of Americans say having a well-thought-out estate plan would help them feel like a good spouse or parent. Yet, just as many admit they do not have one despite the fact that almost the same amount (67%) is actually concerned about their families’ long-term financial well-being. An added bonus of having an estate plan in place for yourself is that it helps you to think through and resolve these concerns while also reducing the likelihood of drawn-out processes and cumbersome expenses associated with family tensions.
So, what holds us back? The same WealthCounsel study indicates that 25% say they haven’t discussed creating an estate plan because they don’t like to think or talk about their own deaths. Of course, it is unpleasant to talk about your own death, and unfortunately, in light of the circumstances over the past year, it has become even more real for some people to reckon with those fears. The fact is, we will all pass away at some point whether or not we have prepared our estate plan. It is better to get the uncomfortable discussion out of the way now so that we can have our affairs in order to take one thing off our loved ones’ plates in stressful times during illness or after death. These decisions and issues do not get any easier when we are in the midst of a crisis.
Although the holidays are looking a little different this year amidst the global pandemic, it is still a time to come together even if it may be virtual or at the very least, modified. We’re not strangers to difficult conversations with all the events of 2020, so our estate plan is a topic of conversation we should consider having with our loved ones as we safely gather in person or virtually.
Let’s start 2021 with a new attitude, as we move forward towards both some normalcy and some peace of mind as your gift for you and your loved ones! Although an estate plan might be an unexpected gift to give this holiday season, it might be the most important one. We encourage you to talk to your family about your concerns and goals this holiday season. It’s never too early to plan!