This article brought to you courtesy of Paula Walker, Confluence Law Center, Gresham Outlook Insider Estate Planning Expert.

The New Year it is a good time to reflect on those closest to you. They are the ones who will be called upon to take care of your affairs when you pass. A stark reality I know, but a truth we cannot avoid is that we all die eventually. What we can avoid is leaving a mess, stress, confusion, and conflict in the midst of grief.

Creating a proper estate plan, is about creating your “exit strategy”; and the results of that are a loving gift for the ones you love. It is about giving clear directions as to who will be responsible to pay final taxes and bills, arrange funerals, sell what needs to be sold and distribute belongings and finances; and to whom.

It is also about taking care of you during your life if that need should ever occur.

As this year starts, ask yourself, if someone you know and trust is appointed to take care of you, your children, your animal companions, settle your affairs, and ensure that those you love, those causes you want to support with your life’s work will receive what you intend to give them? Will you decide or will the state?

Because, with or without your direction, those closest to you will be the ones called upon, a source worth reading is Rhonda Green’s book “My Exit Plan: Getting My House in Order”, compiled from mediating family rifts in her role as funeral services director. In her words, “If you really love your family, then put your wishes in writing and make it legal.”

Your Life. Your Legacy. Your Way.