All of us experience new beginnings on a regular basis. Some new beginnings happen by choice. For example, you might have made some New Year’s resolutions to start a new fitness routine, sign up for a class you’ve always wanted to take or try out a new diet. My New Year’s resolution was to “unplug” — I want to spend less time on my phone and on social media. I’ve turned off all my notifications on my phone and my computer so I can work uninterrupted and be more productive and use my downtime on more engaging and enjoyable activities. Our newsletter’s new look might be considered a new beginning as well!

Other new beginnings, however, come upon us unexpectedly: an unexpected diagnosis, the death of a loved one, a pandemic. A dear friend and mentor of mine passed away two days before Christmas. His wife now has to grapple with the “new beginning” as a widow. His children now face the “new beginning” of living without one of their parents. His law firm now faces a “new beginning” of continuing its work without its founder.

Another friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer not too long ago and has since had to face a new world of medical appointments, treatments, and difficult health care decisions. Finally, in December, my husband Dan lost a great aunt, and I lost a great uncle. Both of them were in their 90s and lived full lives, but nevertheless, their deaths thrust their children into the “new beginning” of planning funerals and sorting through their estate plans in the midst of a pandemic.

Things can change in an instant, whether we want them to or not. We all think we have more time, but the reality is that it’s our most precious, limited resource. All of us have 24 hours a day to spend. If there are any new beginnings you’ve been postponing because you believe you’ll just get to it later, ask yourself: What’s holding me back from starting now?

Of course, that might not apply to the new beginnings thrust upon you, such as the unexpected illness of yourself or a loved one. However, you can make the right preparations by crafting a detailed estate plan so your loved ones will be able to easily sort through the inevitable legal and health care issues that will arise. You can make sure their “new beginning” starts with your affairs in order, and they can grieve without any unnecessary legal or financial stressors.

If you’re already a client of ours and you have an estate plan in place, congratulations! Now all you need to do is make sure it’s up to date every now and then (it’s best to review it at least every three years or so). If you don’t have an estate plan, however, why not start one now? You can take charge and enter a new beginning where you have protected yourself and your family from the inevitable. What’s stopping you from taking action? Our team is ready and waiting to make that process as easy as possible. Give us a call at 919.694.4437 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you start the process.

Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning