Let’s be honest: one of the best things about the holidays is the presents. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, gifts are bound to be at least a small part of the celebrations. When it comes to holiday spending, let us introduce another idea. While you can’t exactly wrap a “secure financial future” in a shiny box; you can still make that one of your gifts this year. Here’s how.
Keeping Track of What Really Matters
When you get past the gifts and decorations, what really matters is family. You’ve probably been planning a family get-together over the holidays for some time now. We all want to catch up with relatives we don’t see often. So, as family is certainly one of the biggest reasons we’re all celebrating, it makes sense that a gift should include whatever benefits family most. And a secure financial future is one of the best ways to benefit your loved ones.
Benefits of an Estate Plan
With an estate plan, things are not uncertain. You can divvy up where your assets will go after you pass on, and you will save your family the immense time and headache that comes from probate court (where people without an estate plan or only a partial one go). In probate court, a judge will divide up your assets, paying off your creditors first. Your family may not get anything. Through estate planning, you can use financial tools and trusts to transfer property to your family that creditors likely will not be able to touch.
Who Can Set One Up?
Anyone can set up an estate planning appointment. You can set one up for your parents or grandparents, or you can set one up for yourself. Sometimes, people believe that they don’t need an estate plan because they don’t have much of an estate. That’s simply not true—you don’t to be millionaire (or even have a fraction of a million dollars) to get your affairs in order and plan for the future. Think about setting up an appointment for a loved one or for yourself.
Things to Think About
When you’re considering setting up an estate plan, it helps to go through your assets and family individually. This isn’t a small project. Estate plans also include directives for end-of-life and sick care. An estate plan can also include the appointment of a power of attorney. Make sure you talk with your family to keep them included in the estate plan. This is another reason why the holidays are the best time to take action. You’re already with your family, so that may help you get your bearings on how you want your estate plan to look.
Think in the Long Term
Luckily, big project though it is, an estate plan is not a one-and-done deal. You and your attorney will create an estate plan together, but that certainly won’t be the end of the road. Families change over time, as do family dynamics. What you want at one point might not be what you want at another. Maybe you will decide to change your power of attorney or add on a new person to receive an inheritance. Again, this is a long-term process. While it doesn’t have to be arduous (and it usually is not), you don’t have to worry about getting it 100% complete the first time you take a crack at it.
Hopefully, we’ve managed to convince you (at least a little) of the benefits of including your loved ones in an estate plan this year. While this might not seem flashy, it is a gift that will last a lifetime—and beyond.