When you think about your New Year’s resolutions, how do your goals for the year ahead help protect your family? We know how easy it can be to get caught up in making plans to eat healthier or exercise at the gym more, but the New Year is one of the best times to think about your estate plan and whether it adequately reflects your current needs. As we look forward to the year ahead, let us share a few updates you can make to your estate plan to help ensure your family is protected when you are no longer here.
First, consider whether you have an adequate plan for your minor children in the event that something happens to you. If you are in a serious accident or are diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness, who will look after your children, both physically and financially? By designating a guardian to care for your minor children if you are unable to do so yourself, you may find peace of mind in knowing someone you trust is looking after their best interests. If you wish to plan ahead and provide financial support for your children, even if you are no longer here, you can set up a trust with funds they can only access when they reach a predetermined age.
Another important person you should plan for is yourself. One way to effectively accomplish this is by creating a living will. This legal document details your end-of-life care decisions and wishes. In addition to this document, you can designate a health care power of attorney to make decisions about your medical care on your behalf. It is important to note that the provisions of a living will do not take effect until you are both legally and medically declared unable to reasonably make decisions for yourself, and can be updated at any time up to that point.
Finally, we encourage you to view your estate plan not as a set of documents, but rather the embodiment of the legacy you wish to leave for your loved ones. While you still have the opportunity to do so, consider taking some time to share your planning goals and wishes for the future with your loved ones. This may provide you and your loved ones with some comfort, knowing that each decision was made with your family’s protection in mind.
We know how challenging it can be to plan forward for a time when you are no longer here. Remember that we are here to support you and help you accomplish your planning goals. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.