Resolve to get your estate plan in order
New Year’s resolutions come and go. We all think about making resolutions, and some of us actually do make them. It’s a time to resolve to lose weight, commit to joining a gym or maybe to start writing that book once and for all. Resolutions give us goals and a roadmap for the year ahead. Roughly 8% of all people who make resolutions complete them. When we fail, we say to ourselves, “next year I will succeed.” Fortunately, the New Year gives us a chance for a ‘do over’ in making new goals and trying to attain old ones. Some goals are just too vague which make them difficult to reach; the more specific a resolution is, the easier it is to recognize when you fulfill it. This year you should resolve to get your estate plan in order. Why? Well, you may not get the chance for a ‘do over’. As an Elder Law attorney, I see tragedies happen on a daily basis. A person can suffer a stroke, be incapacitated due to an injury, succumb to Alzheimer’s or be afflicted with dementia or even worse, lose a loved one. Having your affairs in order with an effective, tailored estate plan is the only insurance against one of these unfortunate life events. A proper estate plan includes a Living Will, a Durable Power of Attorney for your financial affairs, a Health Care Surrogate for your medical issues, a Last Will and Testament and if needed, a Trust. Many people are so busy resolving to make themselves better that they overlook the need to resolve to get their affairs in order before it is too late. Most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.
Joseph W. Lehn is an Elder Law attorney with offices in Sarasota and Port Charlotte Florida