It’s that time of year – New Year’s Resolution Time! What will you resolve to change or do this year, if anything? And what is your motivation? How will you know if you’ve achieved it? Since this is a serious blog on my very serious law firm website, I believe I should tie this into the legal realm. So I’ll address the two areas of law in which I practice – family law and estate planning.

I believe that small changes, things that most people around us wouldn’t even consciously recognize, can have a huge impact on our family relationships. How about resolving that you will no longer look at your phone while eating dinner with your family? Not imposing that rule on anyone else, but only for yourself. Or sitting still and looking at your spouse or child and asking him or her how their day went, then quietly listening, with no expectation that the question or the attention will be returned? It may be worth trying.

How about small changes between you and your ex-spouse or ex-partner with whom you share child-rearing responsibilities? What if you resolved to make sure your children were ready early for every custodial exchange with no expectation that he or she would do the same? Or to copy the other parent on every email you receive from coaches, teachers and piano instructors without exception?

Estate planning also involves one small step at a time. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, you are possibly leaving your loved ones with a significant burden when you die. Not if, but when. And most people know that. But they don’t want to think about it or they don’t know where to start or they think it’s too complicated. So take one small step – call a lawyer and ask about estate planning. Odds are, he or she will happily talk with you and give you lots of good information by phone and you’re on your way to having an estate plan. If you’re comfortable with that person, then rely on him or her to guide you through the process.

Some people may think these small steps couldn’t possibly have an effect on their lives and the lives of those around them. I believe most (if not all) of those people have never tried them.

If you would like to discuss New Year’s Resolutions or any other family law or estate planning issue, please contact me.

Happy New Year!