Happy New Year! It’s time to make resolutions, start fresh, and maybe even find time to review your estate plan or lack thereof. As with the time-honored tradition of joining a new fitness center or making the effort to actually attend the one you have been paying for all year, my practice sees an increase in clients, both current and new, during the first few months of the year. This annual phenomenon is typically attributable to two things.
First, the start of a new year is a time for new beginnings and planning for the future. It is common for clients to seek a checkup of their legal documents in much the same way that they schedule annual physicals and routine exams with their primary care providers. These are the proactive clients who usually just want to make sure they have all their paperwork in order and have not missed any changes in the law.
Second, family dynamics have the potential to change dramatically during the holiday season. Some of the changes are exciting, such as new engagements, pregnancy announcements, or making amends with long-lost family members. Other changes are more traumatic and even hurtful, like when someone has too much alcohol and starts telling the rest of the family what they really think. Good or bad, the end of the year is a stressful time for many people.
Thus, the start of a new year is the perfect time to hit the reset button in our lives and revisit or even begin to create your estate plan, whatever your motivation. New laws often go into effect at the start of the year, which can necessitate revisions to your existing plan. Additionally, most people receive annual tax statements in the mail and begin to piece together their financial worth and goals.
As you collect all the paperwork for your personal income tax return and make appointments with your accountants and financial planners, do not forget to consult with your attorney to discuss your estate plan. Having confidence that your plan is current with your financial goals, changes in the law, and family dynamics will help alleviate future stress for everyone involved.
If you have any questions about this post or any related matter, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.