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Why the holidays are the perfect time for end-of-life planning

Seeing family over the holidays? Here’s why talking about end-of-life planning should be on your to-do list

Because of Covid, most of us have spent the past year-and-a-half thinking about death way more than we wanted to. That means the holidays should be a time to put all that behind us and just have happy thoughts, right? Um, not exactly.

Here at Haven Life we actually think the holidays are the ideal time to talk about death — yours, your family members’ — and how to deal with those financial decisions: i.e., end-of-life planning. Furthermore, we have statistical evidence that this year’s holidays in particular are usually a good opportunity to discuss end-of-life planning with your whole family. Allow us to tell you why.

In this article:

It’s unavoidable

As a society, we don’t like discussing death or planning how to handle it. We find it uncomfortable, sad, scary. But that doesn’t make it go away.

It’s said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but there are numerous ways (legal and otherwise) to avoid taxes. Death, not so much, so it’s better to plan for the inevitable. The only thing worse than the death of a loved one is having to figure out how to manage that death— being in charge of those medical decisions; what funeral arrangements should be made— without knowing what their wishes would be, and how the various processes work or what to do with their assets.

The holidays, when everyone is all together in one room (virtually or otherwise), is an ideal time to clearly communicate everyone’s wishes.

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Haven Life Plus can help

Haven Life Plus, a rider available to eligible Haven Term policyholders, has some services that can help with all that and more, from partners Trust & Will and Lantern. Trust & Will, as the name suggests, is a company that enables people to make legally binding trusts or wills online in as little as 15 minutes. Eligible Haven Life customers can use Trust & Will’s will services or make a trust at no cost.

A trust or will is an essential part of looking after your loved ones — if you don’t have one, it is possible that whichever family member grieves your loss will go through various (and arduous) legal processes to deal with your assets, how your kids should be looked after and other challenging things. For those eligible, Haven Life Plus can make it all a lot less hard.

Much of the rest of end-of-life planning is covered by our newest partner, Lantern. They offer a comprehensive service with an easy-to-use platform for documenting end-of-life wishes. It allows people to make clear medical decisions as to what treatment they want if they are seriously ill, and what they want to happen when they’ve died. It takes away the guesswork. The service makes it easy to specify the health care you will want when you are dying, to plan funerals, and to make all the other arrangements that become necessary when you have passed on.

Lantern is so comprehensive, it even addresses issues you may not have thought relevant to end-of-life planning, such as what should happen to your TikTok and Twitter accounts and what kind of vibe you might want at your funeral. Eligible Haven Term policyholders enjoy lifetime access to Lantern’s end-of-life planning services, including pre-planning, after-loss planning tools, and a one-to-one after-loss consultation, at no cost.

You told us so

So that’s how Haven Life can assist you with your end-of-life planning checklist. But why do we think advance care planning should be something to discuss with your family this holiday season? The answer is that you told us.

We recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 people to find out what topics they would — and would not — be discussing around the table during this, the first normal-ish holiday season since the start of the global pandemic. According to the survey, most people (54%) plan to avoid conversations about politics and many others (45%) aim to stay away from the topic of COVID-19 (quite possibly because it has become so politicized).

So no politics, no current affairs: What are you going to talk about with your family? Our survey shows that people are so desperate for uncontroversial topics that they’re even willing to discuss difficult subjects like money (58% of respondents have already started doing that in the last six months). And this gives you a perfect opportunity to talk about the most universal topic of them all: Our mortality.

We tend to think topics like end-of-life planning are always easier in person (and 59% of our respondents agree), and the fact that you’ll probably be with your family for several days means you don’t have to jump out of the car and launch straight into, “So Mom, I’ve been thinking about your death and mine…” You can start the conversation once you’ve settled in, give people time to think, and return to it. We’d be lying if we said it’s guaranteed to be easy, but it does seem that it will be easier than usual. Also, who hasn’t been thinking about their own mortality more than usual lately? You may as well make the most of it.

It’s a gift

There’s one more reason to tackle end of life care over the holidays: It makes for a great gift. Sorting out you and your family’s end of life planning checklist — in the form of trusts/wills, overall planning and life insurance — is one of the most selfless things you can do for your loved ones. The holidays can be a stressful time: Tackling end-of-life planning is a way to spread around some inner peace. And isn’t that what the holidays are really all about?

Warning...

Peace of mind might be closer than you think.

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About Michael Davis

Read more by Michael Davis

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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