Is Estate Planning One of Your Achievable New Year’s Resolutions?

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We have partnered with Chase & Ralls, PLC to provide this sponsored series on Comprehensive Estate Planning for Mothers and Families.

Two pairs of hands, one male and one female, cradling a small wooden ornament in the shape of a house. With the text Dear Mama protect your legacy: a series on comprehensive estate planning for families. Sponsored by Chase & Ralls law firmMany 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.

Whether you’re embarking on creating an estate plan or revisiting an existing one, the key lies in its adaptability. Life evolves, and so should your plan.

Share your intentions with loved ones, ensuring accessibility in times of need.

In the end, the peace of mind that comes with a well-thought-out estate plan is a gift to yourself and those you hold dear.

Attorney Virginia Ralls headshotVirginia Ralls is a Pensacola native and an avid supporter of military members and their families. Virginia graduated from the University of Florida and then came home to pursue her Master’s Degree from the University of West Florida (Go Argos!). While working full time and obtaining her Masters full time, she met and fell in love with her husband, another Pensacolian, James Ralls, who was active duty Coast Guard. They married and moved to Philadelphia with his new orders. A dream became reality when Virginia was accepted into the Drexel University School of Law in Philadelphia, PA. Eventually, they found their way back to Pensacola, where their son Vincent was born. Virginia now practices law with her father at Chase & Ralls, PLC, where she is the Director of Trusts and Estates.

She uses her experience in law to help mothers and families navigate estate planning and probate. She believes Pensacola was a dream location to grow up, and she is now excited to grow her own family in this Western Gate to the Sunshine State.

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Jen Kinsella
The Navy brought Jen and her family to Pensacola in 2018 following a 3-year tour in Belgium. Born and raised in the Midwest, Jen’s career path took her to Washington, D.C., after college, where she lived until she married her husband, Tim, in 2007. Balancing family and career against the backdrop of military life has made her appreciate the importance of friendships, connections, and finding your “mom tribe” wherever “home” may be. While living in Belgium, Jen took on her most challenging role to date, that of a stay-at-home-mom to her two sons, Timothy and Charlie. In this position, she has been forced to face her fear of cooking, has learned that you never “catch up” on laundry and that she continuously works longer hours for less pay! Fueled by coffee, Pure Barre, and dry shampoo, she feels like she’s “winging it” when it comes to motherhood most of the time, but couldn’t imagine a more rewarding journey. She continues to learn from her kids every day.

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