Many people focus on health and fitness goals at the beginning of a new year, but it is also essential to consider your estate planning goals.
Estate Planning may not be the most exciting thing to think about, but it is crucial to securing your future and protecting your loved ones. It can be a simple process and less time-consuming than you might think. It will also bring you peace of mind knowing it is done and the decisions have been made.
We have talked about important documents and different considerations throughout this series. Now, it is time to take action.
Don’t have an estate plan? Make one!
Estate planning has three major components: during life, at the end of life, and transfer after death. Do you have agents nominated to make health care or financial decisions if you are unable to do so? Have you made your wishes known regarding end-of-life treatment? How do you intend to efficiently transfer assets upon your death? Consider these questions and speak with your estate planning attorney.
Have an Estate Plan? Review it.
Life changes and family dynamics transform. Many families relocate due to work or other reasons, and different family members are closer or farther away. Individuals go through a marriage (maybe a second) or a divorce. There can be a birth of a new child or adoption.
At some point, your children reach the age of majority (but may not be ready for life on their own and need to complete their estate planning to allow you access to assist in finances or make healthcare decisions). Unfortunately, many of us will deal with the death or serious illness of family members or friends we have nominated as beneficiaries, guardians, or personal representatives.
Finally, there may have been a purchase or sale of major assets, or you have obtained new insurance policies or pension plans. These life occurrences can be an opportunity (or necessity) to update your estate planning to fit your life and goals better.
Share your estate plan with loved ones.
You have completed your estate planning and put those documents in a safe location. Does anyone know where to access those documents if something happened to you? Discussing your detailed wishes regarding your estate planning may not be at the top of your list, but ensuring at least one person knows where the documents are saved is crucial to ensure they are accessed in a timely manner.
Loved ones need to know these documents exist so they can follow your wishes and be relieved to know they are in place.
Many benefits of estate planning include reduced stress during an emergency, ensuring your assets are not squandered by individuals or family members, avoiding lengthy probate processes, and helping necessary medical and financial decisions to be made faster.