The new year is upon us and for many that means starting fresh with New Year’s resolutions. Some resolve to revamp their diet, join a gym, and get in shape. I know I’ve seen an increase in the number of people working out at my gym. Others may choose to declutter and get organized. Why not resolve to get your life in order in a different way – by getting your estate and financial planning in place?
Important estate planning documents include a will, a power of attorney, and an advanced medical directive (AMD).
According to a survey by Caring.com, 67% of American do not have a will in place. The top reason given for not having a will was procrastination. Let’s face it, thinking about death is difficult, so no wonder people procrastinate. However, without a will in place, the state dictates what happens to your estate and who is in charge.
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone else to act on your behalf. Powers of attorney are necessary when you cannot act on your own due to temporary or permanent illness or disability. It is important that you choose someone that you trust to serve in this role.
An advanced medical directive puts into writing your wishes for medical care. In it you specify the types of medical care you do and do not want in the event you are unable to express your wishes on your own. It also names a medical decisionmaker if you become unable to make decisions yourself.
If you have these documents in place already, that’s fantastic! Just be sure that you update them periodically as your circumstances change throughout life. We recommend reviewing every 3 to 5 years. Do you want to go further by creating trusts to avoid probate, protect assets, or address difficult family circumstances? These are also common estate planning goals.
In terms of your finances, most of us have financial goals. Without a plan in place, can you really be sure you’re on the right path to achieving those goals? David is a Certified Financial Planner (TM) who can help you establish a financial plan and track progress to your goals. A good financial plan is dynamic as life changes can affect your financial plans. The new year is a good time to re-evaluate goals and put steps in place to achieve those goals. In addition, you may consider an analysis of your insurance coverage. There are a lot of types of insurance out there and checking to be sure you don’t have a gap is worth your time. Other things to consider might be college savings, retirement planning, and beneficiary designations.
Resolve to get your estate plan and finance in order for the new year. Since the gym is crowded right now, call us to schedule an appointment – we’d be glad to help!