As a new year begins, we tend to spend time in reflection and review. Events from the passing year lead us to make resolutions to start anew and make the new year just a little bit different. As you think of the major events in your life, consider your estate plans. This time of year may be the perfect time to update your estate plans or prepare your first one.

Why is an estate plan so important?

Only roughly 40% of Americans have prepared a Last Will and Testament. You could just let yourself join that number, but why? Writing a Will, a durable power of attorney, and an advanced directive is usually not difficult or overly expensive. More importantly, whether you prepare a Will or not, your estate probably will go through probate. State law will be calling the shots, however.

One of the greatest reasons to put together an estate plan is to spare your family the stress of making difficult decisions at a difficult time. For example, if you suddenly become incapacitated, someone will need to make medical decisions for you. Your advanced directive will name someone to do that. Your bills and financial matters won’t stop just because you no longer can take care of them. If you sign a durable power of attorney, you can appoint someone to handle those matters if you cannot.

And, of course, your Will provides for an orderly distribution of your worldly goods.

What are some common estate planning goals?

As you consult with your attorney, you probably will approach the meeting with some goals, including some of all of the following:

  • Give your assets to specific people,
  • Avoid probate by passing your assets to beneficiaries through a trust,
  • Acknowledge the possibility of long-term care,
  • Protect your assets from creditors,
  • Protect your heirs’ inheritance for them,
  • Establishing a legacy,
  • Transfer property to heirs using strategies that promote efficiency, and
  • Reduce or eliminate taxes.

Take some time at this time of the year to think about your future – and your family’s.

How can you get started?

Attorney Bruce Adams assists clients like you with their estate planning questions and concerns. Call us at 256-237-3339 to let us know you are ready to get started. We are located in Anniston, Alabama, but help clients in surrounding communities like Oxford, Jacksonville, Heflin, Gadsden, and Pell City.