December is here, the holidays are near, and New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. Between holiday shopping, wrapping up year-end expenses, or planning out 2017, this may be your busiest time of the season, but one thing remains the same all year round: the importance of family.

Here is a list of reasons to consider getting your estate in order this New Year, including how it’s in your family’s best interests:

1. Your family counts on you

Planning your estate, including what will happen to your assets and property after you pass away, is intended to not only give you control over your property, but to assist your family with dividing your assets upon your passing.

Preparing an estate plan includes creating a Last Will and Testament, where you can specify guardians for your minor children, and ensure your loved ones are taken care of financially should something happen to you. Without a Will, the government controls where your property goes, regardless of your wishes.

2. Time is precious

The time we spend with loved ones is valuable and we often realize this during the holidays more than any other time of the year. We may make plans to see each other more often, but the reality is that everyone’s lives are busy, and if you don’t tell your loved ones how you feel, or what you want, it may be too late.

3. The unexpected does occur

Anyone who has recently lost someone, or knows someone who has, can relate with the fact that unexpected events can occur without warning. Prepare for accidents or illnesses by creating or revising your estate plans, choosing an executor, and storing your Will in a safe and secure place.

The absence of an estate plan can tear families apart over inheritances. Avoid adding to the stress of your death or illness by preparing your wishes and communicating them to your loved ones while you have the chance.

4. It’s not as complicated or time-consuming as you might think

There is a common misconception that planning your estate is too complicated or takes a long time. However, having even a basic Last Will is better than not having one at all. While it is a good idea to be thoughtful in selecting an executor or dividing property among beneficiaries, you can always revise your Will or update it as needed.

5. The future is uncertain

Every year is another chapter in your life. What happens next year may already be planned out in your mind, but economic and environmental conditions, and personal situations change constantly. For that reason, it’s vital to start planning whenever you have a moment.

If you’re going on a trip or vacation in the New Year, it’s a great idea to put together a Will, or even designate a Power of Attorney while you are away. If you own a small business, it’s good business planning to devise a strategy for its future and who will take over business operations if something suddenly happens to you. Above all, if you are a parent, your child’s care and well-being should be your number one priority, which includes naming a guardian to take care of them in your absence, as well as providing for them financially if needed. The same is true for pet owners.

With a year full of excitement and promise ahead, ensure that if you do create an estate plan, it’s updated as necessary to accommodate specific life changes, like getting married or having a child.

6. It’s the most important resolution you can make

Although the end of the year is busy, it’s also when most people reflect on the past 365 days and resolve to do better in the coming year. The time when you are at your most reflective may be the perfect opportunity to give your estate some thought and organize your assets.

While visiting your family these holidays, think about what is most important to you and make a resolution to develop an estate plan in 2017.


Posted by Kristy DeSmit

Kristy is a blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.