It’s almost that time again –time to make a New Year’s resolution. This year, why not make a resolution that protects you and your loved ones? Resolve to create an estate plan if you have yet to do so, or do a complete review and revision of your existing plan if you already have one. A Hartford estate planning attorney at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C. talks about the benefits of making estate planning your New Year’s resolution this year.
Traditional New Year’s Resolutions
January 1st marks the beginning of a new year each year. Traditionally, that day is also when we all make a New Year’s resolution. The most popular resolution for 2019 was to diet or eat healthier, followed closely by exercise more and then lose weight. While all of these are lofty goals, they are also resolutions that people break as often as keep. This year, instead of making the same resolution again you might want to consider focusing on your family by creating or updating your estate plan.
How Does an Estate Plan Protect Me and My Loved Ones?
If you are new to estate planning, you may not realize all the benefits to having a comprehensive plan in place, such as:
- Control over assets – even the most basic estate plan ensures that you won’t leave behind an intestate estate. You want to avoid leaving an intestate estate because if you do, the state intestate succession laws will dictate what happens to your assets instead of you making those decisions.
- Planning for incapacity – incapacity can strike at any age. Preparing for the possibility is the only way to ensure that someone of your choosing steps in and takes over control of your assets and makes decisions for you while you are incapacitated.
- Avoiding probate – it can take months, even years, to get through the formal probate of an estate. By incorporating probate avoidance strategies into your estate plan you can save your loved ones time and money.
- Protecting your minor child’s inheritance – if you are the parent of a minor child, the need for estate planning is heightened because your child cannot inherit directly from your estate. Providing for your child often entails creating a trust and appointing a Trustee to guard your child’s inheritance while he/she is young.
- Planning for long-term care – planning for you own retirement years is another benefit of estate planning. The high cost of long-term care can take seniors by surprise and put a retirement nest egg at risk if they didn’t plan ahead.
The Holidays Are the Perfect Opportunity to Discuss Your Plan
Families traditionally get together at the end of the year for the holidays. Having your family all in one place can also provide the perfect opportunity to discuss your estate plan if you choose to do so. While the terms of your estate plan can remain confidential if you so choose, it can be beneficial to share at least some of the details with family members. This is particularly true if anything within your plan is likely to come as a surprise. By letting heirs and other loved ones know ahead of time what to expect you may diminish the likelihood of litigation after you are gone. It is also important to discuss fiduciary roles with people before you appoint them to those positions. For example, you should never assume that someone is willing to act as a Trustee for a trust you create. Instead, you should explain the position and make sure the individual feels up to the responsibilities and duties that come with serving as your Trustee. Finally, by letting loved ones know how you feel about sensitive subjects such as end of life medical treatment and your own funeral and burial plans it will help ensure that your wishes are honored as well as head off conflict within the family.
Contact a Hartford Estate Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you are ready to get started on your estate plan, or you need to update an existing plan, contact an experienced Hartford estate planning attorney at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C. by calling (860) 548-1000 to schedule an appointment.