Secure Your Legacy: Why to Consider Estate Planning This Year

As we usher in a new year, many of us reflect on the changes we want to make in our lives. From personal growth to financial stability, our New Year’s resolutions often center around self-improvement. 

This year, we propose a resolution that may not be top of mind but is undoubtedly crucial – prioritizing your legacy through comprehensive estate planning.

Estate planning involves making critical decisions about the distribution of your assets, the care of your loved ones, and the management of your affairs in case of incapacity. 

While the topic might seem daunting, taking the time to plan for your future and that of your family can provide peace of mind and financial security.

What are the key elements of estate planning to consider?

  1. Wills and Trusts: Drafting a will is the foundation of any estate plan. It ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Trusts can also be a valuable tool to manage and protect your assets, providing flexibility and control over how they are distributed. 
  2. Healthcare Directives: Designating someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated is a crucial aspect of estate planning. Advance healthcare directives, combining a living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare, allow you to outline your preferences for medical treatment.
  3. Guardianship for Minor Children: If you have children, appointing a guardian in your will is vital. This ensures that your children will be cared for by someone you trust in the event of your untimely passing.
  4. Minimizing Tax Implications: Estate planning can also help minimize the tax burden on you and your heirs. Strategic planning can help preserve your wealth and ensure that more of it is passed on to your loved ones.
  5. Avoiding Probate: Proper estate planning can help your loved ones avoid the lengthy and often costly probate process, ensuring a smoother transition of assets. (Hear great insight from our own Shaina Case and John P. Fritz in this episode of our audio blog.) 

How to start the estate planning process

Now that you’ve made estate planning your New Year’s resolution, it’s time to take action. 

Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney: Seek the expertise of one of our estate planning attorneys at Hathaway & Kunz, LLP. They can guide you through the legal intricacies, helping you make informed decisions tailored to your unique circumstances. (Listen to this episode of our audio blog to hear the benefits of our “team approach” to estate planning and wealth management.) 
  2. Review and Update Existing Plans: If you already have an estate plan, the new year is an excellent time to review and update it. Life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or significant financial changes, may necessitate adjustments to your plan.

As you embark on your journey into the new year, consider prioritizing the long-term well-being of yourself and your loved ones by committing to estate planning. By taking this proactive step, you not only secure your legacy but also provide a valuable gift of peace of mind to those you care about the most. 

Don’t let another year pass without addressing this critical aspect of your financial and personal life. Our estate planning team at Hathaway & Kunz, LLP would love to help you achieve this goal.