As we enter into a new year, it's always tempting to think about how things will be different this year. Almost everyone I know has some version of a New Years resolution (including me), but on the eve of one of my very good friends getting married, I wanted to share a few thoughts on new beginnings.
1. Welcoming A New Addition to the Family
If you're the proud parent of a newborn, it's a good idea to start planning for your child's future. If you do not have a last will & testament, now is the time to write one. It is important that you designate who you want to act as the guardian of your child in the event you and your spouse pass away before your child reaches the age of eighteen. It's also not too early to begin saving for your child's education. Talk to a financial planner about what steps to take to secure your child's future as soon as possible,
2. Entering a New Phase in Life: Marriage/Divorce
Tying the knot is an exiting time for any couple. Combining your finances and creating a life with another person requires careful planning and open communication. Although it sounds unromantic, a premarital agreement will clearly outline the expectations that each of you have about how you will handle your income and what arrangements will be made in the event you do not make it as a couple. Even if you decide against a premarital agreement, open discussions about these issues will give you insight into your partner's point of view. The more you know about each other, the better prepared you will be for married life.
Similarly, if your divorce has been recently finalized, you are entering a new phase in your life. If you have life insurance policies naming your ex as a beneficiary, you want to be sure to submit the proper documentation to change your beneficiary designations. If you were awarded the family home in your divorce decree, you also want to be sure that your former spouse has executed a special warranty deed to transfer his or her share of interest in the home to you.
3. Starting a business
New businesses often start at the beginning of a new year, and entrepreneurs tend to dive into their new ventures head first. Lack of proper documentation is a trap for the unwary. If you are a sole proprietor, you must decide if you want to incorporate your business or simply file a DBA at the outset of your company. Partners in a partnership are doing themselves no favors if they do not have partnership agreements in place. Taking the time to speak to an attorney before your operation runs into any issues is the best step you can take to protect yourself from potential liability and start your business off right.