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A New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping

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As we embark on a new year, it’s important to take stock of our lives and plan for the future. While resolutions often center around health, finances, and personal growth, one area that frequently gets overlooked is estate planning. While it may not be the most pleasant topic to consider, estate planning is a critical element of securing your legacy and providing peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

- Winston Churchill

Estate planning involves much more than just creating a will. It encompasses a wide array of legal and financial arrangements designed to protect your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out after your passing. Here are a few reasons why estate planning should be a priority as we enter the new year.
First and foremost, estate planning allows you to dictate how your assets will be distributed. Without a valid will or trust in place, the distribution of your estate will be subject to the laws of your state, which may not align with your wishes. By creating a comprehensive estate plan, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, providing for your loved ones and charitable causes that are important to you.
Moreover, estate planning is not just about what happens after you’re gone; it also addresses crucial matters such as incapacity. Through tools like durable powers of attorney and advanced medical directives, you can designate trusted individuals to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. This can spare your loved ones from the difficult and often contentious process of seeking legal guardianship in the event of your incapacity.
Estate planning also allows you to minimize the tax burden on your heirs. Properly structured estate plans can take advantage of tax-saving strategies and vehicles, such as trusts or gifting, which can significantly reduce the tax liability for your beneficiaries. By proactive planning, you can help preserve more of your wealth for future generations and charitable endeavors.
Another important aspect of estate planning is the designation of guardianship for minor children. If you have children under the age of 18, it’s crucial to specify who will assume legal guardianship in the event of your passing. Failing to do so could result in a protracted legal battle and uncertainty for your children’s future. By documenting your wishes in a will, you can provide clarity and peace of mind for both your children and potential guardians.

Additionally, estate planning involves addressing end-of-life healthcare decisions. By outlining your preferences regarding life-sustaining treatment and organ donation, you can relieve your loved ones from the burden of making these difficult choices during a time of crisis. This can also ensure that your wishes are honored and that you receive the level of care that aligns with your values and beliefs.

For business owners, succession planning is a critical component of estate planning. By establishing a clear plan for the transfer of ownership and management of your business, you can safeguard its operations and provide for a smooth transition of leadership in the event of your incapacity or passing.
As we embrace the opportunities and challenges of a new year, resolve to prioritize estate planning. By taking proactive steps to create a comprehensive estate plan, you can secure your legacy, protect your loved ones, and provide for a smooth transition of your affairs in the event of incapacity or passing. Whether you’re young or old, wealthy or of modest means, estate planning is a vital aspect of responsible financial and personal management.

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

- Sean Patrick Flanery

Consulting with our qualified estate planning attorneys can provide invaluable guidance in navigating this complex and important process. As you look ahead to the future, make estate planning a priority and ensure that what you leave your loved ones is a blessing, not a curse.

Keep your resolution. Create an estate plan.

Start by scheduling a free consultation today. 

Picture of Kent Phelps

Kent Phelps

Attorney, CEO, and cofounder of Trajan Estate.

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