Well, it is here. Another year is nearly in the books - 2014. Wow, that was a fast year, yes?
So, what are your New Year's Resolutions?
Since most offices are closed today, I doubt you can get in to see an estate planning attorney before the ball drops in Time's Square. Nevertheless, it is never too early to get a jump on your estate planning for 2015.
In that spirit, a recent Forbes article, titled “11 Fundamental Elements of a Stress-Free Estate Plan,” provides practical advice on how to design a plan that protects the assets and provides for loved ones. While everyone’s individual needs are a bit different, there are some basic components you need to examine along with deciding who gets what.
Here are some key points to consider from the original article:
- Determine who you want managing your affairs, if you become disabled, incapacitated, or pass away;
- Make plans to preserve your financial independence should you ever require significant long-term healthcare, so you can avoid impoverishment leading to welfare (i.e., Medicaid);
- Protect the assets inherited by your heirs from potential divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies;
- Provide for the care of children and grandchildren who may be too young or inexperienced to effectively manage money;
- Provide for children or grandchildren with special needs or in special circumstances;
- Prevent challenges to your estate plan; and
- Plan a family estate plan for blended families that ensures everyone is provided for according to your wishes.
Go ahead and enjoy the few remaining hours of 2014. Then, get a jump on your estate planning sooner rather than later in 2015.
That noted, this is not a DIY project. Be sure to contact an experienced estate planning attorney.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: Forbes (December 9, 2014) “11 Fundamental Elements of a Stress-Free Estate Plan”