Estate Planning: An Easy Resolution to Keep

You’ve joined the gym and bought the perfect workout clothes.

You’ve dusted off your library card.

Bring on 2019.

In the enthusiasm to kick off a new year and put the old behind you, resolutions become the promises you make to yourself, promises that too easily get broken.

But what about the promises you make to others? You’re more careful to keep those, right? That’s where estate planning comes in – keep a simple resolution to your family and inspire yourself to press through on the harder ones like exercise and diet.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is, “I’m going to get my financial house in order,” you can start small by getting your estate plan together. It’s not a daunting task and, with the right attorney to help guide you through it, it will probably be a huge relief. Here are 5 quick reasons why your estate plan should be at the top of your resolutions list:

  • You’re doing it for your loved ones. If you become ill, for example, an Advance Medical Directive is invaluable to your family as they deal with doctors, hospitals, etc. Without one, odds are pretty good someone in your family will have to go to court to get that authority.
  • It’s not painful. A good estate planning attorney will probably send you questionnaires to complete before your first meeting. Those questionnaires will help you and your spouse start to think through some of the hard decisions.
  • It’s not expensive. In most cases, having an attorney prepare your estate plan is less expensive than you think. Most attorneys prepare Wills and Powers of Attorney on a flat fee basis so there will be no surprises.
  • You don’t have to update your estate plan very often. In most cases, you’ll want to update your estate plan when there are big events in your family: a birth, a death, a marriage, a divorce, a college graduation, etc. Otherwise, your estate plan should be tailored to cover your family for quite some time.
  • You can have one resolution behind you in just a couple of weeks. Talk about a sense of accomplishment!

Kim Gossage is a partner at Garrity & Gossage, LLP in Matthews, NC, where she provides estate planning, probate, and elder law services to her clients.  She routinely breaks New Year’s resolutions within a month.