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There is no better way to bring together a new year’s resolution of health, wealth and family than estate planning.

The beginning of the new year is a time for resolution. People most often set New Year’s resolutions to focus on living a healthier lifestyle, like eating better, exercising more, or prioritizing their mental health. While all of that is undeniably important, we’d also like to point out the importance of planning for your loved ones when you’re gone. If creating or updating your estate plan isn’t part of your New Year’s Resolutions, we’ll break down why it should be.

Ensures Distribution of Your Assets

Without an estate plan, state law will dictate how your assets are distributed upon your death. By creating and maintaining an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. Your assets go where and to whom you dictate, and in what proportions.

You Choose Guardian(s) for Your Minor Children

Even more importantly than what happens to your assets when you pass, is who will look after your minor children in the unfortunate event of your passing. While this applies more to younger families, it’s all the more reason estate planning should be completed sooner rather than later. By creating and maintaining an estate plan, you choose the guardian(s) who will get the responsibility of caring for your minor children in the event of your passing or incapacitation. Without an estate plan in place expressing your wishes, the state decides who becomes the guardian of your children.

Plan for Long-Term Care

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services in their remaining years. Therefore, it’s important to have an estate plan in place for not only managing your assets, but also your healthcare decisions. Having a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney named in your estate plan means you decide who will be making these important decisions on your behalf.

Minimizes Probate

One of the most common misconceptions we see is the presumption that having a Will avoids Probate.  In fact, having a Will essentially guarantees that a Probate will occur. Probate is the court driven process by which Wills are administered. In an effort to avoid probate and simplify administration of their estate, many of our clients choose to create a Living Trust instead of a Will. A Living Trust allows for a more efficient administration of your estate post death for assets coordinated with the trust (a process generally referred to as “funding”) and can provide for any inheritance received by your beneficiaries to be protected from potential creditors or divorcing spouses in the future.

Reduces Burden on Your Loved Ones

Adding a lot of responsibility on top of grief at your passing can be especially stressful to your loved ones left behind. Creating an estate plan and keeping it up to date is one way to ease that burden. An estate plan provides clear instructions and guidance on how your affairs are to be handled after your death, taking that additional stress off the shoulders of your loved ones.

If you’d like to make Estate Planning part of your New Year’s Resolutions, contact Borakove Osman! We are a boutique Estate Planning law firm located in Madison, WI. We provide legal services and create estate plans, business continuation and succession plans, and farm continuation plans that are attorney prepared, not just attorney reviewed. You can fill out the form found on our website here, and we will get back to you to schedule an initial consultation.