The November and December holidays are times for celebrations and when people think about the important things in life. These important things can include your loved ones, helping others, and making sure that your legal and financial affairs are in order. While things can get quite busy, there are opportunities to see family members and have heartfelt discussions, so it may be an ideal time to review your estate or create one.
When Should I Review My Estate?
Financial institutions often implement new procedures that can impact your assets, so it is smart to review your estate after New Year’s, when new policies and procedures take effect. You will also need to make changes if there were any divorces, illnesses, accidents, births, or deaths that could impact your plan. Other factors that might need to be addressed include designated executors or trustees who move away, an inheritance, a grandchild graduating college, or simply changing your mind about who will be getting what.
This kind of review can be done once a year to make certain that it reflects your current life situation. Even if there has not been any major upheavals in your family structure, your goals and priorities may have changed.
Should I Discuss My Estate at Family Holiday Gatherings?
If you want to plan your estate or make changes to an existing one, you can consider bringing it up with your family at a holiday gathering. This is not always easy, since talking about what will happen after you have passed can make your loved ones uncomfortable. You can ease their minds by removing the shock factor – let them know a few days ahead of time that you plan to talk to them about it. Then, gather up information about your assets and think about you want them to be dispersed to your beneficiaries.
You can allow your loved ones some measure of control by letting them choose the date, time, and location of the discussion. It can be better to do this at someone’s home rather than out in public, since it is private information, emotions can run high, and there will be distractions. Be prepared for a few tears and some objections, and plan to stay as calm as possible during the interactions.
How Do I Choose an Executor?
An executor can be a family member, a trusted friend, or a professional. You will also need to choose decision-makers for your health care in case you are incapacitated and unable to do so on your own at some point. Financial matters can be carried out by a chosen individual as well.
Your executor should be organized and trustworthy, as there are a lot of responsibilities associated with this designation. This includes filing the will, closing accounts, paying off debts, and ensuring that the remaining assets are distributed according to your wishes. Family members might not be up to the task because they are grieving and for other reasons, but every situation is different. If you are confident that a loved one can serve as your executor, ask them first and explain what it entails.
The Plainfield Will, Trusts and Estates Lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. Can Assist You with Estate Planning
Whether you choose to plan or review your estate during the holidays or at another time of year, the experienced Plainfield will, trusts, and estates lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. can help ensure that your wishes are carried out. To learn more, call our Warren, New Jersey office at 908-647-1022 or fill out our online form. We serve clients in Warren and Plainfield.