Wow, it’s 2020 folks. Not only have we started a new year, we’ve started a new decade. Although it’s been a turbulent 10 years, I think I’m going to miss it.
If you are a regular reader, you know that I save the first column of the year to take stock of the previous one. My thought is that if I spend a few minutes thinking about my year and how it could impact my estate plan, you’ll take a few minutes to think about yours. Remember folks, it’s good to slow down and reflect from time to time because, even though our lives are constantly changing, we sometimes don’t notice.
I’m glad to report that I didn’t lose any close family members or friends in 2019. In the previous few years I lost my father, a brother and a buddy that I’ve known most of my life. I’m hoping that this time of loss has come to an end for a while. I also suspect that my friends and family are hoping the same thing.
My oldest son is in his second year of college. Colin is making progress towards becoming a music educator that your children or grandchildren may have some day. Trish and I planned for this so nothing should need to be changed in the plan.
This past year Trish reminded me that we are going to have to start planning college visits for our twin sons, who are juniors in high school. Three kids in college sounds a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, we have to sell one of them to afford college for the other two. So, there you go, silver lining.
Although I have been a bourbon drinker for many years, I finally started to add scotch to my drinks cabinet. I’m not sure why I’m adding this to my year-in-review except that it reminds me of an old saying: “You have to reach the age of wisdom before you learn to appreciate scotch whiskey.” I’m therefore pleased to announce that I’ve reached the age of wisdom so, you know, I’ve got that going for me.
So that’s really it, folks. No deaths or other major events that might affect my estate plan. Except for my move to scotch and the realization that my three sons and all of my money may soon be leaving the home, nothing much to report. To be honest, I’m relieved. I’m not against change but life altering stuff stresses me out.
Now it’s your turn. Take a few minutes and think about the year. Were there any empty chairs at Christmas dinner this year or any newly occupied ones? Any major life changes like weddings or divorces or births of children or grandchildren? These are the things that can signal a need to update the estate plan.
Even if there weren’t any major life changing events, I still think it’s a good idea to pull the plan out of drawer and blow the dust off of it. By reviewing your plan annually, you can remind yourself what the plan even says and make sure that it’s still relevant.
Finally, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to the Gagner family. My buddy Lou lost his mother on the day after Christmas. I didn’t know her very well but she raised a good man so I have no doubt her life was well lived.
Happy new year from my family to yours and thanks for reading. Sláinte.
Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Chris’ Estate Planning Article appears online every Sunday at www.nwi.com. Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Chrisyugolaw@gmail.com. Chris’ information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.