Your New End of the Year Estate Planning Habit


Last month, we wrote about the life events where you need to update your Estate Plan. If you’ve recently gotten divorced, welcomed a new child into your family, or even moved to a new state, you need to update your Estate Plan to reflect that. Estate Planning is the process of working with an attorney to create a legally-binding plan for what will happen to your remaining belongings, property, and money after you pass away. Your Estate Plan is a reflection of your life – so it should change as your life does too.

The fact of the matter is that when you are in the middle of those significant life events, your Estate Plan is not always top of mind. Getting divorced is a legal process that can take years. At the end of it, most people are just relieved that it’s over. They aren’t remembering to go speak with an attorney and update their Estate Plan as soon as possible. If something unexpected were to happen to them – their estate would still be gifted to their ex-spouse, since they didn’t take the time to update it.

So how can you remember to take stock of your Estate Plan and update it following those major life changes in your relationships, career, and living situations? Introducing your new annual Estate Planning habit: the End of the Year Estate Plan Review. The end of one year and the start of the next is already a time of reflection and rest. Most people spend the period examining how they grew during the last year and what they hope to accomplish in the next one. Carving out some time each year to also review your Estate Plan fits in naturally.

If you don’t have an Estate Plan, the end of the year is the perfect time to make one. Estate Planning is easier than you think, and it isn’t just about protecting your wealth. It also protects your family, by helping you pick guardians in case of an emergency and letting your loved ones avoid the stress of probate court. If you do already have an Estate Plan, the end of the year is a great time to examine if any of those major life changes happened over the last twelve months, warranting an Estate Plan update.

Of course, reviewing your Estate Plan is about more than just what you’ve got in it. It’s also about how you’re doing it. Estate Planning can be accomplished through a variety of different methods, including Wills and dozens of different types of Trusts. It isn’t a “pick one” situation, either. You can work with an attorney to mix and match and find the best methods for your situation.

As you spend some time reflecting on the last year, remember to add in an annual End of the Year Estate Plan Review. This will help make sure you and your family are protected going into the bold new year. For help with all your Estate Planning needs, contact Dublin Packard today! We offer family Estate Planning for the modern family.

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Todd Murphy

Todd Murphy is an estate planning lawyer in Morristown New Jersey where he helps modern families of all ages plan for the future.

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