The New Year is here! Do you ever find, as we do, that the years tend to fly by the older we get? We know just how busy this year is already because it is for us, too. Between work and the holidays and getting the kids back in school, it feels like there is very little time to take for ourselves.

In light of how busy things are, have you taken the time to make any resolutions? If you are like us, planning for the year ahead is something we do each year. Whether you are hoping to spend more quality time with your loved ones or focus on yourself, this year is a blank slate and a great time to plan forward to protect you and your loved ones.

There are many ways that you can accomplish this. As we look forward, let us share a few ways that you can plan to protect your family that we use ourselves.

  1. Plan to protect your family from long-term care costs.

Unfortunately, the cost of long-term care for Older Americans is expected to rise. This is why it is important that we prepare our aging family members now, to afford the care that may be needed in the future. This is critical so family members are not left struggling to find answers or to pay those costs. We encourage you to develop the planning needed with your loved ones and discuss shared goals for long-term care to ensure that everyone is on the same page. An important next step in the development of your plan is to speak to an estate planning and elder law attorney who understands your goals and needs and can help you prepare the appropriate planning documents.

  1. Create a plan to leave a legacy for your children before and after you retire.

Have you thought about your retirement plan lately? If not, the New Year may be a good time to do so. When you retire, you and your loved ones will experience a time of change. One of the best ways to ensure that your children, in particular, have a clear understanding of where you plan to live and use your retirement savings is to account for it in your estate plan. This way, your retirement is not viewed as a period of uncertainty, and some of your loved one’s worries may be alleviated. Of course, retirement is not the only thing for which to plan. Do not wait to create a legacy for your children now so that they are protected in the event something happens to you.

  1. Create your planning documents early and discuss them with your loved ones.

Creating an estate plan is one of the best ways to help ensure your loved ones are well taken care of in the event of your passing or sudden incapacity. Further, it is a way to prepare for your own care as you get older. Unfortunately, many of us put off this type of planning until it is too late. It is easy to think that there will be time to plan later when planning may seem more necessary such as when you are advanced in age or facing a terminal illness. However, life is unpredictable, often hits without warning, and certainly never on our preferred timelines.  Many do not realize that without the ability to make decisions, the planning their families need cannot be achieved. That choice to not plan forward may leave our family vulnerable in a crisis. Further, it is not enough to simply create your estate plans. Your planning needs to be discussed with your loved ones so that they not only know that you have an estate plan, but that they know what you want for the future.

These are just a few of the ways you can plan to protect your family and help them make the plans they need in this upcoming year. Preparation is key to successful planning and to help you accomplish your goals.

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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He’s all about family and passionate about estate planning, elder law, and teaching others how to protect what matters most.

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