It’s that time of year again – pumpkin spice lattes are back, the leaves are starting to fall, and you can almost smell the turkey roasting in the oven.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and we can hardly wait to pass the pie. And while most of us indulge in a few (or several) delicious traditions, Thanksgiving is so much more than a meal. Whether your family is big or small, it’s a time to celebrate and gather with your loved ones. 

One of the most unexpected ways you can give thanks this Thanksgiving? By making an estate plan.

Estate planning may not immediately come to mind when you think about Thanksgiving. But it’s the perfect time to tackle this important to-do – not only for you but for your loved ones as well.

Here are 4 ways your estate plan can help you show your family some love this Thanksgiving.

1. Make a plan to pass along your heirlooms and traditions

When we think about Thanksgiving, we often think about traditions. Maybe it’s the family’s annual turkey trot or your annual pie-off. These are special moments that deserve to be part of your family’s legacy. 

Take some time this Thanksgiving to think about how you can pass on the important heirlooms and traditions in your family. While it’s easy to assume that these will get passed on, it’s best to put together a more formal plan in your will.

Your will does so much more than pass down expensive or financial assets. In fact, items in your will don’t need to have financial value at all. Anything you want to pass down to a loved one can (and should) be included, from sentimental heirlooms to family recipes.

As you spend time with your loved ones, the things that matter most (like that special family locket or top-secret pumpkin pie recipe) are top of mind. Making Thanksgiving a great time to make sure you’re making a plan for all the things that you want to leave behind.

While no one wants to think about death during the holiday season, you’ll feel so much better knowing that your family memories will live on for generations to come.

Need a place to store your coveted stuffing recipe? We’ve put together a recipe template that you can print and store safely!

2. Leave a lasting legacy

Many of us spend Thanksgiving giving back to our communities. Whether it’s making a donation or volunteering at a local charity, the holiday is a great time to make an impact. 

Why not take a few moments this Thanksgiving to think about how you can leave a lasting legacy? The easiest way to do this is by leaving a legacy gift to a cause close to your heart.

A legacy gift is a gift to a charity or non-profit organization in your will. While donations usually are the answer to the question: “how can I help today?”. Legacy gifts are the answer to: “how can I help tomorrow?” and “how would I like to be remembered?”.

Legacy giving also makes it possible to leave much larger gifts than otherwise possible. You also don’t have to be wealthy to leave a legacy gift – there is no gift too small to make an impact on future generations. 

By taking a few moments this Thanksgiving weekend to leave a gift in your will to charity, you can leave a legacy that lives on forever.

3. Have those difficult conversations

Most of us only get to gather as a family a few times a year, making it the perfect time to tackle the important conversations. 

And while wills and death is not part of your A+ turkey talk game, it’s one of the most important conversations we should be having with our families.  2 in 3 (66%) Canadians have no clue about their spouse or parents' end-of-life wishes if they were to pass away – leaving so many families with the burden of guessing what their loved ones would have wanted.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying you should discuss your funeral wishes at the Thanksgiving dinner table. But the extra time we spend with our families around the holidays is a really great opportunity to start having these important conversations.

These conversations open the door to reducing the burden and stress in the event of an unexpected emergency. Making your estate plan one of the biggest gifts you can give your family.

Not sure how to have this discussion? Here are some of our top tips.

4. Discuss key roles with your trusted appointees

“Can you please pass the gravy and be my executor?”

Ok maybe you shouldn’t ask those questions in the same breath, but Thanksgiving is a great time to check-in with people who will play a key role in your estate plan.

Some key individuals you should speak with include:

  • Guardians for minor children 
  • Executor and trustee 
  • Power of attorney
  • Pet guardians

Appointing someone to an important role in your will is one of the best ways to show your trust and appreciation. That being said, taking on any of these roles is time-consuming and a big responsibility. 

While you have the chance to meet in person, it’s important to sit down with your chosen appointees to make sure they’re willing to take on the role. This gives you a chance to share your wishes and make sure they’re up to the task. It’s important to also speak with potential backups since not everyone is comfortable with accepting such a critical role. 

Need something to kickstart the conversation? You can use Willful to notify any appointees in your will.

Show your love this Thanksgiving with a will

We all know how important it is to make a plan for our loved ones. So this Thanksgiving, consider taking a few moments to think about your estate plan. 

While wills and estate planning aren’t the most glamorous Thanksgiving topic, it’s one of the best things you can do to give thanks this holiday season. Not only will you finally check off this important to-do (or make any updates), but you'll enjoy peace of mind and get to spend Thanksgiving with your family worry-free.

Ready to create your will this Thanksgiving? Start for free today.