As the days and weeks pass after New Year’s Day, more and more people are giving up on their resolutions. Major life commitments like training for your first marathon or learning a new language are challenging, as is breaking bad habits like eating sweets or smoking. It’s no wonder that most New Year’s resolutions fail.
However, some New Year’s resolutions only require a couple of meetings with an attorney to accomplish but provide a lifetime of benefits. We’re talking specifically about estate planning. With the right estate plan in place, you can control how your assets will be inherited after your death and minimize the potential impact of estate taxes. You can protect yourself in case of emergency while still alive, and ensure your children will always be taken care of properly.
If you haven’t done estate planning before, here are four ideas for making the most of it.
- Get the basics taken care of. Every estate plan includes a will that names the testator’s heirs and other vital information. Many people in Denver also set up a trust to help them pass on their valuables and bypass probate.
- Choose a guardian for your children. If you have minor children, you should choose a guardian or guardians who would take custody of the kids if you and your spouse pass away. You can include this choice in your will.
- Protect your finances and medical decision-making in case of incapacity. There could come a time when you lack the mental capacity to take care of yourself, perhaps because of a severe bodily injury or illness. Whether temporarily or permanently, you would need a substitute to step in and handle paying your bills and determining the course of your medical treatment. Documents like durable powers of attorney and advance directives make it possible for you to direct end-of-life care for yourself even if you cannot communicate and to designate your spouse or someone else you trust to take care of your affairs on your behalf.
- Remember the things that don’t go through probate. Life insurance, retirement benefits and other things that pass on after your death don’t go through the usual probate process. Make sure that you have properly designated the beneficiaries you want and the necessary documents are accessible.
Estate planning is one of the best gifts you can give your family and is an excellent way to start 2023 on the right foot.