The festive chimes of the holiday season are ringing in homes across California, with families coming together in preparation for the most wonderful time of the year. Your neighborhood is likely lined with holiday light displays, the kids in the street are excited as winter break nears, and everyone is feeling a little better now that the early-school year rush has calmed down.
Of course, there’s a little bit of holiday chaos at hand, too. The whole family coming together means strict planning, probably a little (or more) bickering, and making sure everybody is taken care of this time of year. As the dust settles and everyone gets in, there is one often-overlooked conversation everyone should be having this holiday season – estate planning.
At its core, when we consider that the holidays are all about cherishing and safeguarding our family’s future, this season naturally becomes the optimal time to revisit and renew estate plans.
Planning for Every Generation
There’s nothing like bringing together generations during the holidays under a single roof (with some reindeer footprints in the parts of California lucky enough to have a white Christmas). Grandparents share stories, parents manage the whole gathering as the sandwich generation, while children and grandchildren enjoy each other’s company and bring the joy of innocence to the celebration.
These gatherings offer a panoramic view of a family’s generations, but this also emphasizes the importance of a cross-generational estate plan. Think of the eldest family members. Do they have all their legal ducks in a row? This is a good time to establish or update guardianship and Power of Attorney designations. In their own estate plans, have grandparents ensured their wills, trusts, and other key documents reflect their current situations and desires?
Have parents with children approaching 18 put the necessary elements in place to access their young-adult children’s financial and healthcare information? Without the right provisions, parents could find themselves locked out during critical moments. And what about the youngest members of the family? Have trusts been set up to protect their assets, ensuring they are managed properly until they’re mature enough to inherit them? In the unpredictability of life, are there contingency plans for emergencies? The holiday season is the perfect backdrop to address these concerns.
Precious Moments Mean Precious Care
In all the holiday cheer, there’s a chance certain members of the family will have big announcements wrapped up under the tree, as well. Maybe it’s an engagement announcement, or a big surprise pregnancy signaling an addition to the family. These huge life moments are undeniably exciting, but they also need to be addressed in an estate plan.
Adaptation is key when it comes to estate planning. As families evolve and grow, branching out with marriages or welcoming new members of the family, your estate plan should be a living document, updating as circumstances change.
Estate Planning is a Gift
As the season of giving unfolds, many may consider gifting significant assets to loved ones. While the thought of gifting the family car or home is generous, the tax implications of such large-scale gifts can be a major burden. By integrating these gifts into a comprehensive estate plan, you are able to avoid certain gift taxes and ensure that wealth is preserved and transferred seamlessly. Thorough estate planning is the ultimate gift – saving money and moving assets to a new generation.
As you deck the halls and light the menorah this festive season, consider another invaluable gift for your family. Contact the team at Solan, Park & Robello, and let us guide you in updating your estate plan, ensuring peace of mind and a legacy safeguarded for generations to come.
Solan, Park & Robello
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