Holiday Season Ushers in Thoughts of Family and Sharing

Edited by Bob Brumfield

As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s meaningful to reflect on the origin of the holiday–Native Americans and pilgrims sharing their bounty of food with each other. As you gather with your loved ones this year, perhaps you can think of ways to share not only your dinner, but also your financial bounty.

For many families, the holiday season is a time to reflect on the joy of family and the fun of getting everyone together, even if these gatherings can only take place a few times a year. It’s also the time when families often consider sharing their good fortune, according to the article “Share your financial bounty with family” from The Independent. Following are some suggestions for families that can be used for all ages and stages of life.

  • Make the gifts age appropriate. For little ones, the start of a savings account is a good way to teach them about the power of savings and time. You could even add a Thanksgiving tradition of checking the accounts to see how they have grown. Opening a 529 college account is a wonderful gift for the child’s future and permits you to retain control of the money, until the children are ready for the next step in their lives. There are also other accounts that can be opened, including a custodial account like a UGMA or UTMA. Check with your estate planning attorney to see if these make sense for you and the beneficiaries.
  • Review your estate plan. While your first instinct may be to give all your assets to family members, you may also want to leave something to a charitable organization that has meaning to you. That means you’ll need an estate plan.
  • Talk with an estate planning attorney. An estate planning attorney helps families create comprehensive plans that include planning for incapacity, creating a legacy and distributing assets before and after death. That will include a last will and testament, living power of attorney, health care directive and more.
  • Talk with your family about your legacy. How do you want to be remembered? Does the family have the ability or desire to create a family legacy that will extend beyond one generation? This teaches your children and grandchildren about the value of money to do more than buy things but to make a contribution to the local or global community.

If you don’t yet have an estate plan, now is the time to make an appointment to meet with an estate planning attorney and discuss your plans for the future and your legacy.

About the author

Bob Brumfield

Attorney Bob Brumfield has been practicing law since 1984 and regularly receives the “Top Lawyers in California” award as well as the “Client Distinction” and “Client Champion” awards from Martindale-Hubbell.