Change is inevitable, but preparation is not. If you don’t invest time in estate planning, your family could be caught unawares. With the new year upon us, why not add estate planning to your list of resolutions? Many unforeseen events occur every year, and in case of sudden misfortunes, it’s wise to protect your loved ones and assets. Below are five estate planning resolutions to consider for the new year:
1. Understand Why You Need an Estate Plan
You’re off to a good start if you already have a will; however, it may not be enough. As explained in one of our former blog posts, a will has limitations. Where a will merely expresses your basic wishes, comprehensive legal documents confirm your beneficiaries will receive specific assets.
Estate planning also ensures you have appointed decision-makers for medical and financial matters in your absence. Drafting and implementing your power-of-attorney and other critical legal actions, such as life insurance plans, are two of several steps to take in the upcoming year.
2. Have the Necessary Tough Conversations
No matter how delicate and sensitive it may be, one should not avoid conversations about death and disability. It’s better to discuss vital decisions and issues with your loved ones now, such as dividing assets, to eliminate friction and ill-feelings escalating. It’s imperative for family members to know and agree on an action plan in case of incapacitation or untimely death. If you haven’t done so already, make it a priority to arrange those type of family discussions during the new year.
3. Make Time for an Update (If You Already Have an Estate Plan)
If you already have an estate plan in place, make sure to keep it updated. Significant milestones or life events, such as marriage, divorce, career change, or children who’ve reached adulthood can significantly affect your current estate plan. There is also the possibility of law changes within your state that can do the same. It’s wise to review your estate plan periodically to ensure everything is up to date.
4. Create Specific Goals for Your Assets
To whom do your assets pass down after your passing? Are you aware of all of your assets? Before naming beneficiaries and making arrangements, it’s best to have full knowledge of all of your assets. Once you’re fully aware of what legally belongs to you, it’s easier to make the decisions for your family and loved ones accordingly.
5. Prepare for the Unexpected
Death isn’t the only unexpected misfortunate that affects your family. What if you have an accident or illness that creates the need for long-term care? More than often, permanently disabled individuals cannot make sound decisions about their finances or legal assets on their own. Take into consideration the possibility of unforeseen events and establish plans that protect your loved ones.
An attorney can help you through your decision-making process, ensuring everything is up to date by both terms of law and personal life changes. The trusted attorneys of SLN Law are skilled at thoughtful estate planning, offering proper guidance on decisions that can protect your family from all circumstances.