Sunday, January 15, 2017

Should Estate Planning Be One of Your New Year's Resolutions?

With 2017 underway, many of us are eager to focus on making a change in our lives and resolve to follow through on those resolutions. If any of the following applies to you, then you may want add estate planning to your New Year’s Resolutions to ensure that your family and assets are protected.

 1)  You don’t have an estate plan. You have a job, a spouse, children, a car and a house, but you don’t have a will or estate plan. Without a will, you are placing your estate (and maybe your children) in the hands of the Court to make determinations on who will inherit your assets. An estate plan will go a long way in keeping your family out of court and out of conflict.

  2)  It’s been more than three years since you updated your estate plan.  You have a will, but it has been more than three years since it has been reviewed by an attorney. Since then you may have started or expanded your family, acquired real estate, moved here from another state, and/or changed your marital status. Further, the law has likely changed. Changes in circumstances and the law now need to be reflected in your will and other instruments.

  3)  You were single and/or childless when you created your current will.  Now you’re married with children and you need to make provisions for your spouse as well as guardian designations and trust provisions for your children should something happen to you and your spouse.

  4)  You haven’t made end of life decisions.  Consider the Terri Schiavo situation and the ensuing 15-year court battle that pitted her husband against her parents. Estate planning allows you the opportunity to ease the burden on your loved ones by declaring your end of life wishes as well as specify your funeral arrangements.