As 2020 begins, many of us think about what we can improve on in the new year. Common resolutions revolve around personal development: health and fitness, hobbies and skills, and the relationships with the people in our lives.
These things are all worthy of devoting our time to, but there are likely many more important things that we are neglecting. One crucial thing for adults of any age to consider is starting an estate plan.
Making plans for after your passing may not be the New Year's resolution you had in mind, but it is worth doing.
Why should I start an estate plan?
No matter your age or the stage of life you are in, it's always a good time to get started on an estate plan -- 20s without any considerable assets. Planning will ensure your loved ones don't have the additional burden of settling your estate if you pass away suddenly.
For those who are older and have more assets, having an estate plan is even more important. You have a lifetime worth of loose ends to tie up, which could lead to a long and frustrating process for the people you leave behind if they have nothing to guide them.
What does estate planning include?
Estate plans encompass more than just financial matters. Two important components of an estate plan are naming a power of attorney and creating a health care directive.
A power of attorney is someone of your choosing who will act in your place in all legal and financial affairs. In other words, they oversee your estate and ensure that your wishes are carried out.
Similarly, a health care agent is someone who acts in your place to make medical decisions if you are incapacitated or otherwise unfit to make them for yourself.
The next items you should consider in your estate plan are beneficiaries and a Will. If you have a 401(k) or a life insurance plan, you need to name beneficiaries who can collect those benefits after you pass.
A Will is the component of estate planning that is familiar to most people. It is a document that lists your assets and designates who will get them when you pass away.
Don't hesitate to ask for help
Estate planning can be confusing and overwhelming for those who are just starting out. However, working it into your plans for 2020 will undoubtedly give you and those you love peace of mind. If you need guidance, reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney.