Visiting an attorney to get your estate plan done is one New Year’s resolution that you should keep. None of us knows whether or when we may find ourselves seriously injured or sick. But if it does happen, you may be unable to speak for yourself. That’s why it is so important to prepare your estate planning documents well before emergencies.

Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives

For one, you can prepare for an unforeseen medical emergency with documents known as advance directives.  These documents can prove essential if you’ve become unable to manage your affairs after a serious injury or illness.

With an advance directive, you can appoint someone you trust to act in your best interest if you need medical care. In a critical medical situation, you may not be able to communicate your wishes. This appointee (your agent) would have permission to talk to your doctors on your behalf about the treatments you would (or would not) want to receive.

You can also choose a trusted person to handle your financial matters if you cannot do so. For example, if you have fallen ill, you may want to focus your energy on getting better. You can appoint someone to manage such financial tasks as managing the payment of your bills. This is your durable power of attorney.

These estate planning documents are among those that can help prepare you and your family for unexpected life challenges during your lifetime.

Wills and Trusts

And if the worst happens, your will or trust should designate your final wishes. These estate planning tools can prove essential to your heirs, but they differ.

A will takes effect only after you have passed away. It outlines whom you want to receive your possessions upon your death. Note that a will goes through the probate process.

Unlike wills, trusts become effective as soon as you’ve created them, creating a seamless transition after your passing as assets in a trust avoid probate.

What’s More Effective: A Will or a Trust?

In your estate plan, you can name an individual as your personal representative (executor) or trustee. According to your wishes, this person must ensure that your loved ones receive your money and property after you pass away.

A properly drafted will or trust can save your heirs a lot of time and money during the estate or trust administration. In addition, these kinds of documents may also help to prevent potential arguments among family members over your property.

Think of your preparedness as offering your loved ones a sort of reprieve. By making your wishes clear in a comprehensive estate plan, you’ll be allowing them to focus on coping with their grief.

Peace of Mind

Resolutions are easy to make but much more challenging to keep. One-third have already failed by the time February rolls around. You’ll have already completed the first step in achieving your New Year’s resolution by scheduling an appointment to begin the discussion.

Make sure you have the best and most effective plan in place – before you need it. You can have your estate plan prepared within a couple of months, offering you and your family peace of mind.