Estate Planning/Probate/Jan 13, 2014

New Year, New Resolution: Update or Create Your Estate Plan

If you have resolved to get fit, get organized, or get out of debt in 2014, you are not alone. According to research published on, 45% of all Americans usually make a new year’s resolution. And, as you might have guessed, fitness and financial goals top the list of annual resolutions.

Absent from the top 10 list, however, is a commitment (or recommitment) to get some of the most basic and most essential legal documents in order. Topping the list of essential legal documents are (1) a durable power of attorney for financial matters, (2) a durable power of attorney for health care, and (3) a will or a trust. (See “The 10 Vital Documents Every Grown-Up Should Have” at!slide=980479). Without exception, every person over the age of 18 needs, at the minimum, a basic estate plan. And those who are married or those who have children not only have a greater need to create an estate plan, but have a greater incentive as well.

If you do not yet have an estate plan, January is a great time to establish one. And if you already have an estate plan, January is a great time to review it. Any time a significant event (such as divorce, marriage, a death, or a birth) occurs, your estate plan should be updated to track those events.

As you reflect on the past year and make plans for the new year, resolve to make a new resolution in 2014: resolve to protect yourself and your family by updating or creating an estate plan.

For the complete top 10 list of new year’s resolutions and additional statistics about resolution success rates, visit:

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