New Year’s resolutions are an American tradition — and there is, after all, something refreshing and optimistic about the start of a new year with a blank calendar ahead. If you’re thinking about the resolutions you want to make this year, we have one suggestion: Get your estate plans in order.
Where do you start? Here are a few ideas:
Start by looking at what you already have in place
If you’ve never done any estate planning, then starting is easy: You should get a will in place and create powers of attorney for your medical and financial decisions. That’s the bare minimum everybody needs.
If your estate plans have been started, it’s time to evaluate them to see if they still reflect your wishes and meet your needs. A lot can change over time, so any plans that are more than a year or two old need to be carefully examined and updated.
Talk to your loved ones about your goals
It’s a hard conversation to have, but you can make things a lot of easier on your loved ones by letting them know your wishes regarding end-of-life care.
It may also be prudent to talk about how you plan to divide your assets among your heirs so that you can answer questions, address any controversial decisions and (hopefully) resolve any disputes that could damage your family before they even get started.
Check your beneficiary designations
Most people have some assets that will go directly to the beneficiaries without ever being part of the estate. You need to make sure that your life insurance, bank accounts and other assets have the correct beneficiaries on them. (Do not trust your memory).
Your estate plans don’t just buy you peace of mind — they buy security for your future and your family. If you need help with your estate plans, reach out to an experienced attorney.