Posted by: Katie May

The holiday season is upon us! Family gatherings offer a time to create new, lasting traditions as well as a time to reminisce with family and friends about Holidays past. While our family structures are changing, time spent with family is still cherished by all. For some, whose children or grandchildren have moved out of state to begin or further their careers, the holidays represent an opportunity to gather together once again. For others, whose children and grandchildren have moved back home, the holidays are even brighter because of their presence. Visiting with our families during the holidays reminds us how important they are to us. We search store after store, or website after website, for the perfect gifts to give on Christmas Day. The New Year is a time to reflect on our legacy and an opportunity to put a resolution into place.

This year, give your family the priceless gift of holiday memories made – consider making a resolution to create and implement an estate plan.

A recent Harris survey published by Forbes magazine indicated that a mere 35% of participants had executed a Will and a whopping 48% of senior citizens were without essential Powers of Attorney. As a population, we plan extensively months and even years in advance for a wedding. We plan for the investment of our children’s education from the day they are born, and for the down-payment on our first home from the time we are first employed. There is no reason we should not be planning for our well-being as we age and for the ultimate legacy we will leave at our death.

There are many reasons that keep people from planning for their incapacity or death. For many, the unwelcome thought of incapacity and death keep them from crossing the threshold of an estate planning attorney’s door, while others feel they don’t have enough wealth, or they simply do not know where to begin. The implications of failing to plan for incapacity can be devastating to family and friends. Family members are called upon to make difficult, life-altering health care decisions, unsure of what their loved one would want, leading to feelings of anxiety and guilt during an already trying time. If the incapacitated individual’s finances need to be managed, families are forced into guardianship court, which is a time-intensive, expensive and very public process, leaving the decision of who will serve as guardian up to a judge who is completely unfamiliar with the incapacitated individual and his or her family.

An untimely death, likewise causes heartache and leads to potential legal complications. The administration of an estate usually takes longer and costs more if a person does not have a Will or Revocable Living Trust. Family members are forced to deal with a legal process rather than focusing on memories made with their loved one and enjoying the comfort of family and friends.

This holiday season, while creating new family traditions, or searching for the perfect gift for Christmas, don’t forget to think about planning for your future. Give your family the gift of these memories made when they need them most. Call our office today at 630-682-0700 to set up an appointment to design your estate plan and take control of your legacy.