As the new year begins it is natural to make a few resolutions in areas of life that need attention, such as health, finances and family. Fortunately, there is one simple step that can cover all three areas, and that is estate planning.
It is easy to postpone talking to an attorney about your estate plan, but there are many good reasons to make 2019 the year that you finally make that appointment. However, before that, you can get started with some family discussions and agreements.
Let’s look at the impact that an estate plan can have on the priorities in your life, and how you can start with a few simple resolutions:
Of course, estate planning is the best way to take of your family’s future, and is the primary reason most people make a will or trust. But it goes beyond just your assets, and can include guardianship for minor children and trusts to provide for their care.
Resolution: Even if it is uncomfortable, have a discussion with your spouse about how you want your children cared for if you both pass away, including who you would want to appoint as guardian.
Estate planning is not just about dividing up your property, and it also includes measures that can help you while you are still alive. An advanced health care directive will allow anyone that you appoint to make medical decisions if you are incapacitated.
Resolution: Make sure that you and your spouse discuss how you want medical choices made, which may include life support or nutritional methods. Usually, your spouse would have the power of attorney, but you could name someone else as an alternative.
Because your will or trust will distribute assets to heirs, there is an effect on finances depending on how you plan. Some estate planning methods can reduce taxes, and can have a positive effect on your family’s current financial decisions.
Resolution: Make a list of all of your assets and how they are held. This includes real property, bank accounts, investment accounts and personal property. You will need to share this list with your attorney when the time comes to draft your estate plan.
Make an Appointment with Your Estate Planning Attorney
Now you will be prepared to meet with an attorney and discuss the right documents and strategies for your estate plan. If you don’t already have an estate planning attorney, please contact the attorneys at Shoup Legal.