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Kevin-Barry Henry

Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving

By: Kevin-Barry Henry, #1 Bestselling Author

I love this time of year. The crisp morning air, the leaves are changing and starting to fall. The squirrels are in high gear packing away nuts for the winter. Hoodies are back and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere.

It’s that wonderful time of year again and you can almost smell the turkey in the oven.

Thanksgiving is here again and after two years of social distancing everyone is looking forward to getting together and putting on their “turkey pants” with the generous waistband and tucking into the delicious meal.

While we traditionally assemble for a turkey dinner and some pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is so much more than a meal. Whether your family is big or small, it is a time to celebrate and gather with your loved ones.

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, but what are some of the more unexpected ways that you can give thanks this thanksgiving?

I’m sure that talking to your family about your estate plan did not jump to mind, but it might be the perfect time to start the discussion on this important to-do item. It is not only for you, but for all of your loved ones as well.

Here are a few ways that your estate plan can help you show your family some love this Thanksgiving weekend, without it being too weird (hopefully).

Talk about passing along your family heirlooms and traditions

When we think about Thanksgiving, we often think about traditions. Maybe it’s the family’s annual turkey pumpkin pie bake-off, or perhaps your family plays a game of touch football in the yard like the Kennedys used to do. These special moments deserve to be part of your family’s legacy.

Perhaps you might take some time this Thanksgiving to think about how you can pass on the important heirlooms and traditions in your family. While it is easy to assume that these heirloom will get passed on, it is always best to talk to your family about your plans, and make sure they know where they can find your will and your estate directory.

Your will does so much more than pass down expensive or financial assets. In fact, as we saw in last week’s blog post (HERE) items in your will and estate directory don’t have to have any 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 turkey recipe – are top of mind. Getting together means that Thanksgiving can be a great time to make sure that you and your family know about all the things that you want to leave behind.

While nobody want to think about death during the holiday season, you will feel so much better knowing that your family traditions and memories will live on for generations to come.

Leave a Legacy

Many of us spend Thanksgiving giving back to our communities. Whether that is making a donation or volunteering at a local charity, the holiday is a great time to make an impact. The easiest wat to do this is by leaving a legacy gift to a cause that is close to your heart.

A legacy gift is a gift to a charity or non-profit organization in your will. Donations usually are the answer to the question: “how can I help today? Legacy gifts answer a different question: “how can I help tomorrow?” or maybe a different way to think about it is “how would I like to be remembered?”.

Legacy giving also makes it possible to leave a much larger gift than otherwise possible, as we learned in the article about “Charitable Donations” (HERE) a while back. Leaving the benefits of a life insurance policy to your cherished charity can make an enormous impact on future generations, and you certainly don’t have to be wealthy to do so.

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

Have the “tough” conversations

Many 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 passing on might not be part of you’re A-game turkey discussions, it is one of the most important conversations the you should be having with your family. 2 out of 3 (66%) Canadians have no clue about their spouse or parents’ end-of-lie wishes if they were to pass away. That leaves so many Canadian families with the burden of guessing what their loved ones would have wanted.

Maybe talking about your funeral plans at the Thanksgiving dinner table isn’t the way to open the meal, but the extra time you spend with your families around the holidays is a really great opportunity to start having these important conversations.

These “tough” conversations can open the door to gathering up a plan that will reduce the burden and stress in the event of an unexpected emergency. Making a will and an estate directory is one of the biggest gifts that you can give your family.

Discuss the key roles

“Can you 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
  • Powers 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 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 that they are willing to take on the role. This gives you a chance to share your wishes and make sure that they are up to the task. It is important to also speak with potential backups since not everyone is comfortable with accepting such a critical role.

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

While wills and estate planning aren’t the most glamorous Thanksgiving topic, it is one 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 updates), but you’ll enjoy peace of mind and get to spend Thanksgiving with your family knowing that your legacy will live on.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Gratitude,


If you would like to set up or update your own will, I encourage you to CLICK HERE and get a KBH discount while you’re at it.

Your estate directory is not a legal document, but it is a legacy document. It is you voice when you no longer are able to speak. To learn more about creating your own CLICK HERE


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