New Year’s is a time of reflection. It’s a time to think of the happenings of the past year and look forward to life ahead. While you’re in a contemplative mood, make updating your estate plan a primary New Year’s Resolution.
The past year may have dealt you some major life events. Births and deaths, marriages and divorces could all lead to changes in your estate planning documents. Even buying or selling real estate or a business could alter your estate value to the point where you need to revise or create trusts, for example.
Maybe a loved family member now needs special care. Or you or your spouse are facing a serious illness. Long-term care planning or a special needs trust might be a consideration.
Even if you feel nothing major has transpired in the past year, it’s still best to review your estate plan documents. Special attention should be given to the beneficiaries, trustees, and agents you’ve named. Are these people still available and willing to serve? Do you need to make new designations?
You may also be worried about potential taxes. Is it time to think about using tax reduction strategies? Will federal tax reform affect your plans?
For these reasons and more, plan to discuss your concerns with an estate planning attorney.
If you haven’t developed your estate plan yet, why wait? Start your new year with a plan for the rest of your life. You see, estate planning is not just about where property goes after someone dies. It’s also about how decisions will be made if you become incapacitated or need help making financial and medical decisions. It’s also about providing for your loved ones.
At the very least, every adult needs a Last Will and Testament, durable power of attorney, living will, and health care power of attorney or proxy.
Resolving to get your estate planning in order is not like most New Year’s resolutions. The best reason to develop a great estate plan? Your family and loved ones.