January 2024 - A New Year, A Fresh Start
January is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. A lot of us spend this month taking inventory of our lives and making future plans, so it’s the perfect time for getting your important financial and legal documents in order. A lack of preparation can quickly derail even the best laid plans.
- Review your insurance policies—home, car, health, life. Make sure you have sufficient protection in case of a disaster. Check that premiums are up-to-date, and any beneficiaries named are still relevant.
- Write a will or update an existing one. Do you still need a guardian for your children? A trust fund? Make sure the terms of your will accurately reflect your current situation.
- Create an estate plan. This provides your family with guidance for handling your finances and healthcare should you become incapacitated. Inclxude and update all relevant advanced directives, health proxies and powers of attorney. A verbal agreement between you and a friend or family member won’t stand up when you can no longer speak for yourself.
Once your financial house is in order, it may be time to have “the talk” with your parents. Mentioning that you just went through this process yourself could be the icebreaker you need to broach this delicate topic.
- Time it carefully. Choose a quiet time when they’re relaxed, not stressed.
- Be prepared and stay focused. Address topics like living arrangements, finances, healthcare, estate planning.
- Make it about them, not about you. Explain that you need to know their wishes if you are to carry them out.
- Listen more, talk less. Hear how they want to spend their golden years, what makes them happy, then discuss how to make that happen.
- Don’t judge. Express your concerns or worries constructively. Offer options.
- Follow up. This isn’t a one-and-done conversation. Allow time to digest what was discussed and to consider compromises when warranted.
It’s a difficult conversation, but one that will benefit all involved.
We wish you a happy, healthy New Year!