At the beginning of every new year people make resolutions they hope to accomplish over the next twelve months. While the most common resolutions involve things such as exercising more and being kinder to others, resolutions about estate planning should also be at the top of this list. Because there are many resolutions people can make about estate planning – depending on where they are in the planning process – below are a few estate planning resolutions to consider with the new year.
1. Resolution: Create an Estate Plan
For individuals who do not yet have an estate plan in place, this is the year to do so! Life often has unexpected twists and turns, so it is always better to be prepared and have an estate plan. Even for people who do not think they need an estate plan – either because they do not have any assets, or their assets will go to their intended beneficiary even without a will – these are often mis-assumptions. In fact, drafting an estate plan is not a complicated process, especially when there are experienced estate planning attorneys able to help.
2. Resolution: Revise Your Estate Planning Documents
Many people assume that once their estate plan is drafted, the process is over, and they do not need to do anything else. However, that is not accurate. For individuals who have had their estate plan finalized for years, they should resolve to review and revise their plan in 2021. Reviewing and revising estate plans are a critical part of the process; otherwise, the estate plan will be outdated by the time it must be implemented and utilized. For example, laws passed over the last five years, including the federal 2017 Tax Act, have altered many aspects of estate planning and have impacted many peoples’ estate plans – and many are unaware of these changes. For others, family dynamics and relationships have changed, and they want to alter their beneficiaries and/or trustees. Reevaluating an estate plan every few years may seem like a hassle, but it often saves individuals and their families from complications in the long run.
3. Resolution: Fund Your Trusts
After people have finished the trust planning process, they forgot they actually need to transfer their assets to the trust. Otherwise, even with the best trust in place, the trust will not be useful. Often people will create a trust in their younger years, and plan to transfer the assets when they are older to avoid probate. However, like creating an estate plan, it is often better to transfer the intended assets over to the trust now, in case something unfortunate arises that makes this impossible to do later.
Because these estate planning New Year’s Resolutions are critical, make sure to contact an experienced estate planning attorney who can help check these resolutions off the list.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney
If you or a loved one is interested in fulfilling estate planning resolutions this upcoming New Year, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. We recognize that estate planning can be a stressful process, so we will work to develop an estate plan that is right for you. Our attorneys have decades of experience drafting estate plans and answering complex estate planning questions. To speak to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney today, call us at 713-333-8900.