New Year’s Resolution: Creating An Estate Plan

Why creating an estate plan early in the New Year will make for a worry-free year

The beginning of a new year is rich with possibility. It’s a chance to start fresh, set new goals, and (hopefully) stick to resolutions. Estate planning, while not always fun to think about, is necessary, and getting your affairs in order this year is a great goal to set for 2018. Maybe you’re getting married in 2018, or expecting a new baby. Maybe you’re starting a business, or planning to retire before the end of the year. Whatever your life situation, getting your estate in order will give you peace of mind throughout the year to come.

Do You Need An Estate Plan?

More than half of American adults do not have a will, according to AARP. In a recent survey, AARP found that 29% of people who hadn’t started estate planning felt they didn’t have a need for it. Young and healthy people often feel this way, but life is unpredictable. Single parents, for example, need to think about what will happen to their children if they were to die unexpectedly. It’s never easy to think about worst case scenarios, but doing so helps protect the people you love in case of emergency. Retirees about to embark on a new chapter of life should think about estate planning to guarantee retired life lives up to its potential. Everyone needs an estate plan, and as you wrap up paperwork for your home and business in 2017, it’s a great time to start thinking about the year ahead.

How to get started

List Your Assets

First, create a list of all your assets, including life insurance, savings, real estate, investments, collectibles–everything. Include estimated values and a list of where accounts are held. Gather your login information for any online accounts you have, and also include your business and partnership assets if you work for yourself or own your own business. This list will help your attorney move forward, so make it as comprehensive as possible.

Set Up a Will

There are some elements of estate planning you can work through on your own, while others are better left to professionals. Steps like creating a trust and designating someone to make medical decisions on your behalf should be handled by an experienced attorney. A will is another document you shouldn’t tackle alone: it combines many estate planning mechanisms into a single, organized, official document. In the process of drafting a will, you’ll appoint a guardian for your children, choose a power of attorney, and name an executor to carry out the will.

Address Your Additional Needs

Other estate planning steps include creating a trust, which helps track and manage assets, and writing a living will. Business owners should take extra steps to plan for succession and protect their assets. Whether or not you’ll require these additional provisions will depend on your unique circumstances. Working with an attorney who understands estate planning and is advocating for your interests will make these needs easy to identify.

Estate planning may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Enter 2018 with a team that can walk you through the planning process, help you weather this year’s ups and downs, and adjust your estate plan as your needs change this year and in years to come. Get in touch with Anselmo Lindberg and Associates to start a long-term relationship with an estate managing team that truly cares about their clients, and take control of your future today.

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