Your New Year Estate Planning Checklist

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Published by Taylor Financial Group

Many times, clients are hesitant to focus on their estate planning goals.  But we always emphasize the importance in doing so and encourage our clients to get their estate plan in order now.  Maintaining and updating your estate plan can help you to be ready for whatever the future may bring.  Let’s review some items that you should add to your checklist to make sure your estate plan is in order.

Make Sure Revocable Trusts Are Funded: By executing a revocable trust, you can accomplish various planning goals, including reducing your federal or estate tax liability, protecting assets from creditors, providing for a family member with special needs, or controlling the timing and distribution of assets for beneficiaries. Completing the process by funding your trust is crucial.

Update Your Estate Plan When Personal Circumstances Change: Be sure to update your estate plan when significant events take place, like the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, a career change, etc. These changes should be reflected in your estate planning documents and your goals should always be parallel with your wishes.

Ensure That Beneficiary Designations Are Up to Date: Outdated beneficiary designations can cause an estate plan to fall apart. Reviewing beneficiary designations and ensuring they are current is important to ensure that assets will be inherited by the intended individual(s). There are important differences in areas of estate planning, like probate assets, non-probate assets, retirement plan assets, and insurance plans, which you should be educated on. Contact our office if you would like to discuss these areas and/or need assistance with your estate planning.

Review Asset Ownership: Asset ownership plays an important role within an estate plan. If a trust is in place to meet specific goals, review the ownership of those assets to be sure that they are held in the name of the trust, to be sure that your goals will be met and the transfers will occur as desired.

Make Advance Directives Part of Every Plan: Protect your assets by confirming that you have a Durable Power of Attorney in place for both financial and health matters. With use of these directives, you are able to designate an individual to act on your behalf when necessary. Clearly document your wishes in regard to medical decisions that would need to be made on your behalf. Advise your family in advance of such wishes so that in the event of incapacity or a medical crisis there aren’t any surprises.

Make Sure You Understand What Your Documents Are Designed to Accomplish: You may not always remember prior discussions you’ve had with us (or your attorney) regarding your estate plan documents or the complexity of those documents. But it’s important to understand how your plan works and what you need to do to maintain it. We make sure we have these discussions with our clients often because we know that proper management of estate plans is crucial to execute goals that are in your best interest.

Having a regular review regarding your estate plan can help clarify any ambiguities, and ensure all goals are current and in line to be met. We always stress how important financial wellness is, and part of that includes ensuring your estate plan is in good shape too.

Contact us today if you know it’s time to review or discuss your estate plan.

 

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