This Thanksgiving brought back memories. As a young boy growing up, I loved meeting at grandma’s house on 21st Street in old Las Vegas.

We crammed cousins and uncles in every corner of the house and a spirit of thanks and gratitude prevailed. Just before my 17th birthday, my grandma died and Thanksgiving changed.

At 17, I didn’t experience much regarding my grandmother’s estate planning, but I learned to be more grateful for the time I shared with her.

Estate planning is not something you do for yourself. It is something you do for others.

Meeting with a professional and getting your affairs in order is an expression of love.

For all of us, there will come a time when we die. Your estate plan in part formulates your legacy. You can, through the planning and drafting of your will or trust, express your gratitude for those individuals or organizations you value through word and deed.

I’ve watched a strong man cry from gratitude for what he received and sisters expressing thanks for a well-structured estate plan when meeting with me after mom’s death.

Not all estate plans and beneficiaries are filled with gratitude but through your actions you can help facilitate more gratitude throughout the process.

No one is entitled to an inheritance. All should acknowledge the grace of the provider of the inheritance. All should cultivate gratitude in receiving the gifts they receive.

Gratitude and estate planning go hand in hand. As we think about all we have, whether a lot or a little in the form of material possessions, we should contemplate how we have planned for our affairs. With some thought and guidance, you can help foster gratitude within your estate plan.

Jeffery J. McKenna is a local attorney serving clients in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. He is a shareholder at the law firm of Barney McKenna & Olmstead, PC, with offices in Mesquite and St. George. Barney McKenna & Olmstead is the area’s premier law firm, dedicated to serving business and estate planning clients by protecting their assets and providing sound legal guidance and customized business and estate planning solutions. If you have questions you would like addressed in these articles, you can contact him at (435) 628-1711 or