In 2020, Resolve to Make Your Estate Plan.
When making New Year’s resolutions, we often commit to doing things for ourselves that we know we should do – but never actually do – because we don’t prioritize them.
Drinking more water, getting more sleep, visiting a new place, learning a new skill – whatever your personal aspiration, if you fail to keep your New Year’s resolution, it’s likely because something or someone you DO prioritize takes precedence.
As a wife, a mom of two small boys (and two large dogs) and a full-time entrepreneur estate planning attorney, I can completely understand how estate planning could be a failed New Year’s resolution. It’s easy to de-prioritize that the things that, while good for us, may make us slightly uncomfortable.
To get you over that hurdle, please allow me to describe estate planning from a new 2020 point of view. Making an estate plan is taking care of your number one priority, the people you love the most.
Making an estate plan provides for your family on an emotional level.
Unless you’re an attorney (or maybe even if you are), the idea of going into a courtroom can be stressful and anxiety-producing. The formality of the situation and the gravity of the outcome cause many people try to avoid it like the plague.
However, without an estate plan, your loved ones will have to go to Probate Court to administer your estate. This process is lengthy, expensive, and totally public. You can help your family avoid that ordeal by making a Revocable Living Trust, which designates an individual to distribute your assets without the Court’s involvement. With a Revocable Living Trust, your estate can be administered according to your wishes, while considering both the emotional and financial needs of your loved ones.
Making an estate plan protects your minor children.
If you have children under 18, caring for them is still a non-stop, all-encompassing experience for you. You have learned a lot about your children’s needs in the time you’ve had together, and that singularly qualifies you to decide who would be best to raise your children if you were no longer able. The best way to protect your children in the wake of a family tragedy is to ensure they will be entrusted to the people you deem best suited to the job. You can do this through a Guardian Nomination, as part of your comprehensive estate plan.
Making an estate plan ensures all of your financial assets will benefit your loved ones.
Do you know all of your usernames and passwords for all of your online accounts? If so, do your loved ones also have that information?
It’s very common not to update every family member about all financial decisions. However, this practice causes many financial accounts to be lost in the shuffle of an estate administration. If your financial assets are not comprehensively catalogued, your family may not know they exist or have means of accessing them. After a designated period of time, the money or property will be handed over to the State of California. Your estate plan should include a financial asset log, to ensure that your wealth and property can identified and distributed according to your wishes.
LifeLadder would be honored to help you make estate planning be the 2020 New Year's resolution you keep. For more information, download our Estate Planning Checklist below or click on Get Started below to access our Introductory Webinar.