As the year winds down, many individuals reflect on changes to make over the next twelve months. The upcoming year presents numerous possibilities to make a new resolution or to complete long avoided to-do list items. Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions focus on health and lifestyle changes. While these are important, consider focusing on your financial health and planning for the unexpected by including estate planning in your resolution.
Expanding the focus
Unlike many resolutions that focus only on personal improvements, an estate plan themed resolution focuses on both you and your loved ones. Using estate planning tools, you can dictate your wishes for property distribution, name a guardian for minor children and outline your health care wishes in the event you become incapacitated. Your estate plan could include:
- A will
- A trust
- Powers of attorney, both financial and medical
- A living will
- A business succession plan
Make it SMART
Resolutions related to lifestyle and other changes are often too broad or underdefined, which is why so many people fail to follow through on them. But setting a clearly defined goal with specific and measurable outcomes can be far more effective than a vague resolution. The SMART goal setting principles include goal elements that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Applying these principles to your estate planning goal can help make it a reality by year-end.
In the midst of daily life, estate planning can take a back seat to more pressing issues. However, failing to create an estate plan leaves your property and your well-being in the hands of others. Adopt a future-focused mindset for the upcoming year and put your estate planning goals into action, allowing you to maintain control over your assets and your health care wishes.