The New Year is upon us! It's that time when we look back and review what we accomplished throughout the year and set goals for the next. In so doing, we assess our finances and careers. Our personal lives and our health. But what we do not often assess enough is our estate plans. That's unfortunate given that our finances, careers, and our health are in one way or another related to our estate plan.
So, this New Year – 2020 – resolve to consider your estate plan. Here are three resolutions to help you do just that:
Resolution #1: Get an Estate Plan
If you do not have a will or revocable living trust in place, its time. No more excuses. Take control over your future and your legacy through planning your estate. No matter where you are in life, you can benefit from an estate plan. You could be starting a family or retiring. Remember, anything can happen at any given time. You want to make sure that your wishes and intentions with respect to your estate are followed if something happens to you. Take control over where your assets go, who will manage your estate, and who will make financial and healthcare decisions for you if you become ill. Prepare an estate plan that reflects your stage in life – it is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones this New Year.
Resolution #2: Update an Existing Estate Plan
Maybe you already have an estate plan. How old is it? If it is more than five years old or if there have been significant changes in your life recently, take a look at it. Does it still reflect your wishes? What about the current tax laws? Changes in life or in the law should be followed by changes to your estate plan.
It's important to remember that estate planning is never really done. Never sign a will or trust and put it away in a safety deposit box forever. Review your plan regularly. Your estate plan needs to be updated especially as the changes pertain to:
- adding new property purchased to a will or living trust
- removing property sold from a will or living trust
- changing beneficiaries
- adding a newborn child or an adopted child
- removing a family member who has passed
- updating who will act as your durable power of attorney or medical power of attorney
- changing a living will to reflect a new wish.
Resolution #3: Make Sure the Estate Plan is Done Right
Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all estate plan. Each person is unique and every individual circumstance is different from others. As such, each estate plan must be distinctive. For example, one individual may benefit from a living trust while another has no need for one. And even then, the trust must be drafted to the person's specific needs and in accordance with the law. So not only must your estate plan consist of the right tools, each of those tools must be specific to your needs as well.
Understand that a will is not the only tool of an estate plan. There are many different tools that can be used to help make sure your wishes are upheld, your assets are protected, and your family is secure.
The Key Takeaway for Tennessee Estate Plans in 2020
Estate plans are a great way to start the New Year off right. Whether you need to form a plan or need to review and update a current one, you should make sure it is done right. In 2020, resolve to get your estate in order; resolve to make sure it is specific to your needs and in accordance with the law; resolve to contact an estate planning attorney in Tennessee today. And with that, here's to a Happy New Year!