While January may have a reputation for change, fall is full of its own fresh starts. It brings the beginning of a new school year, the first days back to life (and work) after summer vacation, and a short reprieve before the start of the holiday season. It's the perfect time to take stock of what you have going on in your life and to plan for the future. That should include taking some time to look over your Estate Plan—or to start one if you've been putting it off.
Below, we've explored five reasons why fall is a great time to plan your Estate:
Update Your Plan As Your Children Go Back to School
Back to school season is often a stark reminder of just how much your children have grown. When did they get so tall? Have they outgrown that coat already? Are they ready for the new challenges that are ahead of them?
As your children get older, your plans for the future may change, including who might take care of them if you can't. Your Will includes plans for the legal guardianship of your children and any pets. An appropriate Guardian at one point in your child's life may no longer be the best choice and may need to be updated. If you have a child going off to college this year, you may need to update your documents if they plan to relocate for the school year.
With the kids back in school and your family settling back into their regular routine, it's the perfect time to revisit your Estate Plan and make any necessary changes. Or, get started on an Estate Plan today if you don't have one.
Get Everything in Order Before the Holiday Season
Life is already busy, and between November and January, it only gets more hectic. Between family gatherings and beloved holiday traditions, there seems to be hardly enough time to get to everything that we plan for the season. Before all the holiday festivities get underway, it's a good time to take stock of everything you have to be thankful for, all the people who make your life sweeter, and ensure they are protected.
By getting your affairs in order in the fall, you will bring peace of mind into the holiday season. The knowledge that your affairs are in order and that you have provided for your family the best you can. You can start the new year strong, knowing that your medical preferences and last wishes would be honored if the time came.
Despite some choice thoughts about Christmas magic, tragedy can strike during the holidays. If it does, having a recent, up-to-date Estate Plan could help save your loved ones added stress or confusion during an already tragic time.
Be Prepared in Uncertain Times
If we've learned anything over the last two years, it's that we live in uncertain times. Things are constantly changing, and we can only do our best to prepare for what's to come. With a worldwide pandemic and even just the passing of time and getting older, it's important to make sure that you and your family are prepared for anything.
A Will or Trust-Based Estate Plan protects your assets and loved ones. You can nominate a Legal Guardian for your children, decide who will take over the care of your pets, and designate who should receive your most precious possessions. It also allows you to make your medical wishes known and legally binding. Naming a Power of Attorney allows them to act on your behalf and make decisions about your care and well-being if you can no longer speak for yourself.
We don't know what the future holds, but we can prepare for it with a comprehensive Estate Plan.
Review Your Beneficiaries
Fall is when many people begin thinking about their holiday shopping. If you plan on cutting someone from your shopping list this year, it may be time to reconsider their place in your Will.
Each time you update your Estate Plan, you should review your list of Beneficiaries and what they will receive in the event of your death. For instance, your Will may currently state that your sister should receive the antique table that sits in your living room. But if you and your sister have had a falling out since the last time you updated your Will, or if she has since passed away, you may need to remove her as the Beneficiary of that table.
Relationships change over time. The people closest to you today may not always be in your life. While reviewing the names of those listed in your Will, you may also want to consider the Executor of your Estate. An Executor bears the responsibility of settling an Estate after your death. That person should be someone you trust quite literally with everything you have. Each time you revisit your Estate Plan, ensure that the Executor of your Estate is still able and willing to act on your behalf.
If Not Now, When? Update or Start a New Estate Plan with Trust & Will
Estate Planning is something that everyone knows they should do eventually but is often put off. After all, it's not the most comfortable topic to bring up to your loved ones. It can be especially difficult as we move through unprecedented days of an ongoing pandemic. But this often-overlooked task doesn't have to be as time-consuming and painful as you may have made it out to be.
Fall may be all about pumpkin spice lattes, cozy blankets, apple picking, and hayrides, but it's also the perfect time to revisit your Estate Plan. Preparing for the future has never been so easy. With Trust & Will, you can get started on a comprehensive Estate Plan in just minutes. Get started today!