We frequently write about the importance of creating an estate plan. An estate plan allows you to make your wishes about medical care, guardianship of your minor children and property known. Once these wishes are drafted in a legally enforceable way, they will generally remain protected and respected.
If you are thinking about creating an estate plan, you are making a thoughtful and brave choice. It is not always easy to contemplate death and the potential for a time when you remain alive but are unable to make financial and medical decisions for yourself. At its core, estate planning is a matter of self-respect and concern for the people and causes that you care most about. By drafting an estate plan, you are making your wishes known and taking a burden off of your loved ones, who will now know exactly what you want and how to enforce those wishes.
As you approach the end of the year, you are likely tempted to take stock of the year that is passing and to think ahead about the year to come. This time of transition inspires many individuals to contemplate the past 12 months and to consider the possibilities of the next 12. It is therefore not unusual that many individuals are inspired to either craft or revisit their estate planning documents at this time of year.
There was a time when the process of estate planning for most Americans simply consisted of drafting a simple will. However, as assets have become more complex, healthcare has become more focused on personal choice and technology has evolved, a simple will is no longer the only estate planning tool that most Americans need to concern themselves with.