Take Action and Be Prepared - A New Year's Resolution

The end of any year is always a very busy time. Days and nights are filled with a variety of holiday traditions, family gatherings, and a bustle of year-end activities that tend to focus on the “administrivia” of closing out another year.

The rush of the holiday season comes to a close. Celebrants watched the crystal ball drop in Times Square signaling the start of a New Year. 2016 ended with a toast, perhaps a kiss, and sometimes a thoughtful New Year’s resolution.

The changing year signals a time for remembering those that passed away. The list of celebrity deaths noted in news headlines included the recent and sudden departures of Carrie Fisher and her famous mother, Debbie Reynolds, within one day of each other.

Debbie Reynolds and her son were in the process of planning Carrie Fisher's funeral the day after her unexpected death. Her mother Debbie, at age 84, then experienced her own medical crisis and was rushed to the hospital where she died after a stroke.

Countless stories have been posted about broken heart syndrome and this tragedy speaks volumes. There is little doubt that the family was not prepared for those untimely events. Sadly, the surviving brother/son will be left to sort out the mountains of tasks and arrangements during an emotionally charged time.

We mourned the loss of other notables in 2016: Alan Thicke, Alan Rickman, Glen Frey, Prince, David Bowie, George Michaels, Garry Shandling, Patty Duke, Antonin Scalia, John Glenn and Janet Reno to name a few. The list is long.

Many of us also experienced our own personal losses – perhaps the passing of a loved one or a friend.  And honestly, we weren’t ready. We weren’t ready to say goodbye, and we weren’t ready to take care of all the details that need to be taken care of after someones death.

So let’s make our New Year’s resolution about taking action and being prepared.

There are many things we have no control over within our own lives, one of which is when a life-changing event will occur. We tend to bury our heads in the sand while murmuring “that won’t happen to me”. Some people skirt the issue all together. But what we do have control over is the ability to plan ahead.  If we resolve to take action and to take time and forethought to make a plan, we will save our families (and advisors) a whole lot of time, stress, and money when the inevitable happens.

When you take control of your estate planning and compile and communicate your end of life wishes, you can make decisions now that will help those you love in the future.

2017 marks a new chapter. Resolve to take action today.