Most of us make New Year’s resolutions to be a better version of the person we are: thinner, more patient, more organized. This year, how about resolving to take care of family business? Interested? Raise your hand and read the following aloud:

  1. Organ Donation: I resolve to make a choice about being an organ donor: Save your family from making hard choices by setting a gift in advance. Specify limitations: no gift, internal organs only, whole body to science. Put donor provisions in a will, sign an anatomical gift declaration and the back of your driver’s license in front of witnesses. Register with the Illinois Secretary of State and with a donor organization.
  2. Write a Will: I resolve to write a will: Through a will you can name your executor, reduce post death costs by avoiding the executor’s bond, use streamlined probate proceeding, name children’s guardians, make anatomical gifts and make your final wishes known.
  3. Create a Trust: I resolve to create and fund a trust for assets: Through a trust you may avoid probate, take advantage of estate tax saving provisions, and enjoy flexibility of gifting, and hold assets post death. Already have a trust, resolve to finish funding it.
  4. Provide Guardians for my Children: I resolve to determine the guardianship of my minor children: Put your choices for guardianship in your will and in a separate guardianship form. Write a mission statement that puts your goals for your children in writing. Even if you never use this, you’ll sleep better knowing it is there.
  5. Make Advanced Health Care Decisions: I resolve to make health care decisions in advance. Determine your wishes if you are on life support. Sign a living will and a power of attorney for health care to appoint an agent to make your decisions for you if you cannot. Sign a HIPAA authorization allowing doctors to talk to your family.
  6. Appoint a Financial Agent: I resolve to appoint a financial agent: If you become incompetent, would your loved one need to go to court to pay your electricity bill? Sign a financial power of attorney to alter this result.
  7. Put my Financial House in Order: I resolve to review my financial assets: Are your beneficiary provisions current? Are your assets with old employers? Review these assets annually to ensure they are up to date.
  8. Prepare for my Financial Future: I resolve to take care of my financial future. Meet with a financial advisor and get started on funding your future or advancing the plans you have.
  9. Get Down to Business: I resolve to clean up my small business. Move your business to an LLC, an S Corporation, or another organization to protect your personal assets from creditors. Clean up your business records. Create a business plan for short and long term success.
  10. Take Care of Life Insurance: I resolve to review my life insurance needs: Are you under-insured? Are you paying higher premiums than you should? Will your estate pay tax because of your insurance? Review your insurance needs with a financial advisor and an estate planning attorney.

Making resolutions you can execute is crucial. Make an appointment with an attorney and a financial advisor today to determine what you can reasonably accomplish. This year, do more than make an empty resolution. This year, take time to make a difference with your family’s business.

Should you have any questions about estate planning or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This article constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.