The New Year is the time that many of us focus on creating our list of resolutions. From health and fitness to spending more time with loved ones and reaching new goals at work, there is no wrong resolution. What we often find, however, as people set these lists in the New Year, they forget a goal to ensure that their family will be protected against uncertainty.

Unfortunately, without a Georgia estate plan in place that reflects our wishes, goals, and hopes for our legacy, we are left unprotected against uncertainty. There will be no one to make our decisions should we suddenly find ourselves in a crisis and, more often than not, very little guidance for our family on what we want should we become incapacitated. Further, without an estate plan in place, our family may have to go to court in order to obtain legal authority to make decisions on our behalf.

It is our goal for you in the New Year and throughout the year, that this is not the case. Let us share four ways your estate plan can protect you and those we love now and well into the future.

1. Protection for children of any age. Our first thoughts, when it comes to estate planning, may be to create the planning we need to protect our minor children. While this assessment is correct, it is not only our minor children who can benefit from thoughtful planning. Our children, regardless of age, need the guidance of our estate plan and protections it creates should something happen to us. Further, for older children, there is never a wrong time to discuss creating the advanced directives they need to protect them once they turn eighteen years of age.

2. Protection for your spouse. Through an estate plan we can ensure that if something happens to us, our loved ones are protected. This includes planning to provide for and care for your spouse. Regardless of age and acumen, should something befall us it will not be easy for our spouse to carry on. At least some of the pressures and frustrations can be alleviated when we have prepared an estate plan and maintained it to ensure it reflects our current wishes.

3. Protection for your business. Whether we own our business or are a part of a business, make the resolution to include the business in the estate plan. While it may not be something that was initially thought of, revisiting the estate plan to ensure the business is protected is vitally important. Unfortunately, today, less than half of all businesses in operation have a succession plan. Without this type of planning, as well as inclusion in the estate plan, the business is at serious risk should something happen to both the owners and employees.

4. Protection for you. Through a comprehensive estate plan we can choose who we want to make our decisions in the event of a crisis. This means selecting the person, or persons, who is best positioned to act in our stead should we become unable to make health care or financial decisions. Through creating documents, such as the durable power of attorney, we can ensure that our loved ones will not be forced to guess, what we want to do and who we want to select to make our decisions. Protecting ourselves through our estate planning also means crafting the legacy we want to leave to our families, friends, and community, to ensure it will continue when we are no longer here.

These are just four of the reasons why you want to make creating and maintaining a current estate plan one of your New Year’s resolutions. It is never the wrong time to plan to protect yourself and those you love. We encourage you to ask us your questions and contact us to schedule a meeting to create, or update, the right plan for you.

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