Happy New Year! If you are sitting down setting resolutions or goals for the new year, estate planning should be at the top of that list. You are never too young, or too old, to get your estate planning in order. See below for a list of things to consider when reviewing or starting your estate plan.
1. Will: It is a good time to review your current will, or write a will if you do not have one. A will is imperative for every individual, and should be reviewed yearly to ensure you don't have changes that need to be made. Wills do not have to be expensive or complicated, and every person, no matter their assets, should have one. See our blog on Wills here.
2. Power of Attorney (Medical and Financial): A Power of Attorney is a document that allows an agent (or person you designate) to act on your behalf when you cannot do so yourself. Without a Power of Attorney, a Court may need to decide what happens if you cannot decide yourself.
3. Beneficiary Designations: Many of your assets may be passed to your heirs without being dictated in a Will. Often times investment accounts and retirement accounts allow for a beneficiary designation. The New Year is a great time to review your beneficiary designations and/or list beneficiaries if you have not done so already.
4. Living Will: Commonly confused with a Will, a Living Will is actually a document that allows you to instruct medical professionals on medical decisions, should you become too ill to communicate them. A Living Will allows you to determine when to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment in the event of permanent unconscious condition or terminally ill condition.
5. Other Considerations: Depending on your assets and wishes, you may want to consider a Trust. A Trust can be used to set aside certain assets for a specific purpose and designate a trustee who will manage the assets. You may also consider making a list of passwords, account usernames, etc. to have as part of your estate plan to provide to the person who will handle matters upon your passing.
We hope this is helpful as you navigate New Year goals and plans. All the best in 2024.