For many Americans, the task of putting together an estate plan is one of those "to-do's" that never gets done.
Tic-Toc-Tic-Toc ... it is that time of year again. Yes, it is New Year's resolution time. Is estate planning likely to be one of your "resolutions" for 2014?
We all know that an estate plan is a matter of personal responsibility. No one truly can plan your estate for you, at least like you would. Trouble is, you might know what needs to get done, and you might have put it on that master to-do list, but you still need to have the resolve to get it done. For many of us, estate planning is that perennial subject on the to-do list.
No surprise, but "estate planning" ranks right near the top when it comes to the most often broken New Year's resolutions. You might say it is somewhere between learning to play the guitar and running a marathon. On the other hand, compared with many such resolutions estate planning is an entirely unique challenge.
So give this year's resolution some legs!
The five strategies?
- Create a will or trust.
- Create a power of attorney.
- Create a health-care power of attorney and living will.
- Check the titling of your assets.
- Start with your family.
In many respects, an estate plan can be rather simple. However, estate planning is much more than generating a pile-of-paper from an impersonal online service or program. Be sure to read the original article for a developed understanding of what each strategy means and what each can do for you and your loved ones.
Remember: estate planning is not a task, but an ongoing activity. Once the ink is dry, you cannot simply forget about it. Things change, whether in the law or in your family itself.