So today is New Year’s eve.  I’m sure most of you have big plans for this evening-parties, drinking, celebrating till late night to welcome in the new year.  Tomorrow I’ll bet many of you are hung over with headaches and perhaps slightly blurred vision. I offer my advance sympathy to those of you who do stay up late tonight, drink too much, and don’t feel tomorrow.

So before that happens, there are several things I’d like to urge you to consider as a new year’s resolution. Here are some financial matters we should all consider:

  1. Wills

It is absolutely essential that we all have a recent Will.  Otherwise the state decides who receives our money and other assets. This can be a huge problem, especially for those who are remarried and have children from both families. Also, the legal and accounting fees for court supervised estates can be excessive.

The good news is wills are now relatively inexpensive and quickly drafted.  With the new estate tax provisions, even large estates can be handled simply and expensively.

So if you don’t have a recent will, see an attorney.  Bring a list of assets, copies of insurance policies, and a list of your heirs (including ages and health). Don’t be a slacker!

  1. Insurance

Many of us have spent too much on Christmas gifts.  Others have had financial reversals.  And most of us are underpaid. It is therefore important that we buy cheap long term life insurance to provide for our spouses and children.  Often this can be done quickly and cheaply, even over the telephone.  Don’t leave your family destitute.

  1. Unfiled Tax Returns

Many people have unfiled tax returns.  There are often good reasons for this- including lack of adequate information and records which may not be our fault, illness, etc.  Some people have simply put it off for so long they are afraid to address the problem.  Others may simply be irresponsible.  No matter what the reason, there are several way to address and resolve this problem.  There is no need for you and your family to live in fear.  Find an experienced tax adviser and take advantage of the various solutions to this problem.

  1. Unpaid Taxes

Lots of people owe the IRS money- some for income taxes, others for payroll taxes, etc.  And the penalties and interest can seem to be endless.  Again, there are often many possible resolutions to this problem.  If you have failed to file or failed to pay your income or payroll taxes, be committed to resolving the problem now.  No more sleepless nights.  There are a number of ways to resolve these issues that can really work if properly handled by someone knowledgeable in the tax field.

Folks, the truth is life is too short to spend it worrying about big problems that can be solved with a little effort. And we sure don’t want to add to the problems our loved ones will have after we are gone.

So I urge each of you to take stock of these issues now, at the beginning of this new year.  Let’s fix them before it’s too late and get these problems off everyone’s shoulders.

And to all of you a Happy New Year !

David Leeper is a Board Certified federal tax attorney with 38 years of experience.   He can be reached at 915-581-8748 or by email at