It is almost the end of the year! You know what that means … tax time, resolutions, and new starts. We think it might also be time to think about your estate planning needs too!
Here are some key steps to consider:
1. Have your finances changed significantly? Work with your financial planner and / or accountant to review your portfolio.
2. Are there new family members, through marriage, birth, or adoption? Consider whether your estate plans cover them adequately. Also consider if you need to change any specific gifts, or if your family might have a child with special needs.
3. Do you need an update on your wills? We suggest an annual review of your situation, and an update every two or three years to be sure that new laws and new legal precedents don’t throw a wrench into your plans. Our Annual Maintenance clients enjoy a complimentary review every year.
4. Have you thought about your own medical needs recently? Review and update your health care documents, HIPAA forms, and powers of attorney before it is too late. Annual Maintenance Program clients of ours receive complimentary access to an on-line document repository for all those pesky health care documents you need to keep track of.
5. Are all your assets in your trust? Most problems with estates utilizing trusts arise because the trust-maker FAILED to put the assets into the trust! Don’t be that person … review your trust and your assets to be sure it does what you want.
6. Make charitable contributions a priority. If you have received much this year, it might be time to give some to worthy causes. You can do this through such mechanisms as direct donations, gifting through organizations that distribute to causes you like, or providing long-term benefits through planned endowments, just to name a few. Let us work with you and your financial planner to set up charitable trusts or endowments that meet your needs.
Taking just a few steps to think about your estate needs prior to the new year can be important to your family and others. Happy New Year!