Estate planning for the holiday season

Finding an excuse to discuss your Will over the holidays

An interesting observation of human nature is that there is a noticeable increase in enquiries for Wills and estate planning services during the period leading up to the holiday season around Christmas and the New Year. Why is that?

Some clients explain that it’s the thought of traveling and the risks associated with traveling. Others just worry about what will happen to them while they’re away or far from home. Others consider it a time for reflection and family, and realise (shock) that their affairs aren’t in order and it’s time for them to do something about it. They know they should have done it before, but just never got around to it (see our previous poll on why people don’t have a Will).

Whatever the reason may be, it shouldn’t take something like the holiday season or a trip away from home to prompt people into thinking about their Will or their estate planning requirements. The possibility or probability of passing away without a Will is the same if you don’t have a Will regardless of whether you’re staying at home singing Christmas carols, sipping cocktails and relaxing on some tropical beach, or enjoying skiing on a mountain top resort. If you don’t have a Will, you don’t have a Will (see our previous post on intestacy).

When the family comes together to celebrate the holidays, maybe that’s an opportunity to discuss some of the key issues related to your Will or your estate planning requirements – after all, those discussions generally involve or affect those closest to us, right? Is it an appropriate topic of discussion? Maybe not, you’ll need to decide that – but consider what other opportunities will you have throughout the rest of the year to have these conversations. When do most people get together? Maybe it’s weddings, funerals, birthday parties or key festive dates. It’s not easy and it’s probably uncomfortable as well – but that’s life, and should be doing something about it because before you know it another year will have gone by.

What we do know for a fact is that once you’ve done it, you’ve prepared your Will and you’ve stored it away, there is a sense of relief and accomplishment. It’s done! That’s the reward for not procrastinating any more. Sure, you might still have to review your Will from time to time, but that’s another issue for another day. For today, it’s done.

Then you can enjoy the rest of your holiday and the (hopefully) many more to come.