Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of each year. Some we stick to, some we don’t. Some last a few days, others may take several months for us to complete.
To resolve to do something is to make up one’s mind or decide firmly. Resolute is being determined, steadfast, unwavering, purposeful. A resolution is a pledge or intention.
This year, I encourage you to firmly decide to make a steadfast commitment to protect your family.
If you have already done so, congratulations! You have already completed Step 1 of your estate plan. Step 2 is setting your estate planning goals. And what better time of year to do that than in January when we all have shiny new calendars to write in.
Setting goals is important in estate planning because it forms the framework of our plan. For example, if our resolution is to lose weight, we need to first set goals so we can then form an action plan. Do we want to lose 5 pounds in one month, or decrease our Body Mass Index, or lose 10% of our overall weight? Without a goal, we cannot effectively take action steps to accomplish our resolution.
Here are some common estate planning goals to consider, but there are many more.
- Protect. I want to protect my family from predators and creditors. I want to protect my children’s inheritance should my spouse choose to remarry. I want to protect my assets.
- Provide. I want to provide guidance and instruction to the person I choose to be guardian of my children. I want to provide for my loved ones financially. I want to provide for my pets after my death.
- Plan. I want to plan the transfer of my family business. I want to plan for the potential disability of me or my spouse. I want to plan for children from a previous marriage.
- Privacy. I want to preserve my privacy now, during any disability, and after my death.
- Control. I want to control all of my assets while I am alive and able. I want to control who makes medical decisions for me if I am incapacitated.
- Avoid. I wish to avoid or reduce estate and death taxes to the lowest possible level. I wish to avoid the probate process.
This New Year, set time in your calendar to think about and write down your estate planning goals. Choose an accountability partner to keep you on track. Be purposeful.
Your family is your most precious asset. Are you resolved to protect them in 2016?