2021 Resolutions are probably a lot different than the ones you made for 2020. This year, you probably have more “self-care” items on your list. After spending so much time at home during 2020, you’ve probably learned more about your home than you ever knew. A common resolution that I have seen is to travel more. After a year in which we couldn’t travel, any travel will seem like a luxury. Your 2021 resolutions will also probably include some financial ones as well. The pandemic has likely laid bare any holes in your financial plan. Even if you work with a top-notch financial advisor, 2020 was a curveball that no one saw coming.
What About Your Estate Plan?
In my world, the beginning of the year often brings more clients who are looking to get an estate plan than any other time of the year. This weekend, the newspapers I read had a variety of different financial planning articles for 2021. It’s a common bit of advice to make sure you have a will as you start a new year. The flip side of the coin is if you already have one, the beginning of the year is a good reminder to check it to see if it needs to be updated.
My response has always been that any time of the year is a good time to get your estate plan in order. While many people wait for major benchmarks (their birthday, new year, etc.), any time is a good time to get started. Especially if you don’t already have a will, then now is always the best time to get started.
One thing that 2020 probably taught us is that your healthcare documents should be on your 2021 resolutions if you don’t already have them. Many times, you know you need a will. But have you thought of the healthcare documents that go with your will?
In the past, this part of an estate plan was often treated as a simple “add-on” that people did not spend much time on. Then the pandemic came. The horror stories of people being intubated to be treated for COVID were shocking. For those who had to deal with the situation first-hand, the need for healthcare documents was clear. COVID could strike at any time. We weren’t even totally sure how it is transmitted in each case. And if it strikes, and you are intubated, who will make medical decisions for you? If you don’t have healthcare documents, this should terrify you.
What Can You Do?
The good news is, it’s not hard to get started. And getting started is the most important part of the process. Your will doesn’t need to be 200 pages long. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. But it needs to be yours. Don’t go find some website that mail-merges your data into their forms. Find an estate planning lawyer to talk to. Even if you aren’t ready to sign the paperwork this second, that initial discussion will probably teach you more than you thought you needed to know.
While travel is a much more exciting entry in your 2021 resolutions, don’t forget to make sure you have your estate plan on that list as well…
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If you don’t have a will yet, or if you have one that you may need to update, call my office to set up a Legal Strategy Session and we can review the best options for you – (877) AMAYERS.