The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection on the year gone by and planning for the year ahead. Many people will make New Year's resolutions, often involving getting their financial affairs in order. Wouldn't it be wonderful not to have to worry about what will happen to you or your possessions if your health fails or if you should pass away? Knowing that you have an estate plan can take away this worry and help you sleep better.
Estate planning is not difficult. It is simply creating documents to let people know what you want to happen to you and your possessions when you can no longer express those wishes. Your estate plan does not have to be complicated either. For some people a handwritten will, beneficiary designations on accounts and filling in forms available at a legal stationery store may be sufficient. The important things are: (1) expressing to your loved ones what your wishes are, (2) putting in place documents to transfer decision making authority should you be unable to speak for yourself; and (3) creating a plan that transfers your assets in a timely and cost-effective fashion. If you have not taken the time to establish an estate plan, resolve to do so in 2014.
For those of you that already have an estate plan, the question is whether it is suited to the facts of your current personal and financial circumstances. We are living in a world of rapid change. The laws are changing, our relationships can be changing and our environment may be changing as well. For this reason updating or amending an existing estate plan may be necessary so that your estate plan reflects your present reality and desires. If there is something you want to change or emphasize in your estate plan, resolve to get it done in 2014.
© 2014 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.