Make estate planning your new years resolution

Published 06 Jan 2014

It’s almost been one week since the world rang in the new year, and most people are already testing the limits on how able they are to hold strong to their resolutions.

However, there is one resolution that many are in the perfect position to make, and staying true to it could ensure their loved ones don’t fall into inheritance disputes down the line: estate planning.

Making the decision now to focus on planning your estate could lower the chances that it will lead to contesting wills claims in the future. Now, at the beginning of 2014, you have the opportunity to commit to organising your will. Here are a few things you can think about to get you started.

There are several questions you may need to ask yourself when drafting your will. First, at what point will it go into effect? Can beneficiaries make claims if you are incapacitated, or only after your death?

It’s also important to note that it isn’t simply about monetary values and assets. You’ll need to outline who will take control of all finances, property and health care decisions after your death. Children are also a major concern, and you should outline who would take care of them and how your estate will be settled between them.

Getting down to the nitty gritty

You’ll also need to learn the individual laws that may exist in your state that could affect your estate planning.

For example, will your heirs have to deal with any probates if collective assets are worth more than a designated amount?

Also, it’s important to take a look at life situations that make have changed over time. If you haven’t revised your will in years, you’ll need to address any changes to the family, including divorces, marriages, deaths and births. Each of these comes with unique challenges that must be addressed in contesting wills cases if they aren’t thoroughly laid out in the document.

If a document is out of date, it could spell serious legal trouble after your death. It will require your heirs to contact contesting wills lawyers to determine how the estate should be divided up if it wasn’t clear in the initial draft.

It’s a new year, so take this opportunity to ensure your will is up to date and reflects your needs and wishes accurately.

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