This is a guest contribution by Louis Feldman. Louis is an NFLPA Registered Player Financial Advisor located in the State of Florida and is the owner of Pro Athlete Advisor. You can also find Louis on Twitter: @PlayerAdvisor

AS WE BEGIN 2010, there are many New Year’s Resolutions which we sometimes consider for ourselves; i.e., spend more time with the family & friends; lose weight; exercise more; quit smoking, which you can achieve by looking into sites like No one said it was going to be easy, but what is in life? As long as you realise that you are not alone in this transition, as there are people out there willing to give you a helping hand and products such as the PAX 3 (vape) that you can try out, hopefully making this change in your life will make all the difference and get you feeling positive for the new year. You shouldn’t feel like you are on your own if you are trying to make a positive change to your lifestyle. Considering the amount of e-liquid manufacturers out there and therapists who are willing to give you all the advice you need to give this up, we all know the importance of quitting and anything that can make this process easier is worth checking out. Some smokers find the difficult part of giving up is maintaining the momentum of quitting. The addiction to nicotine is so powerful that it takes a lot of willpower to stop completely. However, some quitters find that slowly weaning themselves off nicotine could help them in the long run. There are a variety of products and services available that could aid with the weaning process, for instance, you can try nasty juice, a popular brand of ejuice, which could help you through this part of quitting by replacing your taste for nicotine with something else. With a new year comes a new attitude, so the earlier you begin, the better it will be for your future.

As long as you achieve your goals and your health, that’s all that matters. A similar idea also applies to quitting drinking; working less; getting out of debt; etc. Some, of these goals we may achieve, while others we may postpone until next year’s list. However, in light of recent tragic deaths, there is one very important resolution that we all should consider and make, or at least add to our top two as we enter the New Year. That is “our Family.”

As we enter the New Year, it should be each person’s goal to make sure that each of us has proper estate/financial planning in place before the onset of an event that can cause pain to our families. It is important that our family’s financial affairs are reviewed, properly organized, and well taken care of, as we never know what kind of curves life will throw our way.

Getting your estate planning documents done is the first step, at a very minimum. In this regard, most individuals should consider having the following documents in place:

Will: A Will is the most basic estate planning tool. It is simply a legal document that spells out how you would like your property to be distributed and becomes irrevocable upon your death.

Revocable Trust: A revocable trust can be another part of your estate planning documents. This document may or may not be part of your estate plan depending on whether your advisor believes it is necessary. With a revocable trust, (similar to a will) your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the Trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries after your death.

Durable Power of Attorney: This allows you to empower a person to handle your financial affairs should you be unable to do it yourself. Depending on the state, the durable power of attorney is generally effective as soon as you sign it, and you should, therefore, completely trust the individual(s) you name as your agent(s) or attorney-in-fact(s).

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: This document states whom you designate to make healthcare decisions for you. The document becomes effective when you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.

Living Will: The law presumes that you want to be kept alive at any cost, regardless of your physical condition and/or likelihood of recovery. A living will declares your wishes regarding the withholding or administration of medical procedures and medication in the event that you are in a terminal condition and/or persistent vegetative state from which you are unlikely to recover. You should carefully consider/review this document with your attorney/advisor.

Remember, every state and every person is different, so your estate plan needs to be custom-crafted to meet specific individuals’ goals. You should consult your attorney, CPA and/or Financial Advisor prior to implementing any of the above documents. Effective estate planning comes down to collaborating with professionals in order to make sure that the necessary techniques are in place. By considering the above, a person can begin to make sure that his/her wishes will be carried out, and their loved ones will be properly taken care of. After all, your “family and loved ones” deserve to be taken care of.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.