Massive amounts of money have been lost due to poor Estate Planning and out of date documents. With the end of the year around the corner and with the holiday season in full effect, Estate Planning is probably not a top priority for you right now. Understandably, many of us look for any reason to procrastinate on this matter, but the holidays bring families who may live far apart together. Although this is not a festive, cheerful topic, it is important that your loved ones understand your Estate Plan. When it comes to Estate Planning, open communication will help avoid confusion, family conflict, and probate and tax consequences.
Here is a simple checklist of important things to consider in your planning:
- Life Changes
This would include marriage, divorce, remarriage, the birth of a child, death or disability of a family member, or moving to another state and these would all require you to reexamine and update your Estate Plan.
- Complete the Funding of your Trust
Make sure your assets (real estate, bank accounts, stocks, business interests, etc.) are retitled in the name of your trust.
- Power of Attorney
Make sure your Power of Attorney is up to date with your current preferences. Additionally, some healthcare providers reject ones that are more than a few years old.
- Beneficiary Designations
Make sure your Will/Trust names any beneficiaries you want, including friends, family members, a trust or charity. Do not name your estate as beneficiary; that could cause your heirs to lose important income tax benefits.
- New Tax Laws
If there have been changes to any tax laws, make sure that your Estate Plan takes these changes into account.
- Choose a guardian for children who are minors or have special needs.
It is a commonly incorrect belief that you can just ask a relative or friend to step in as a guardian if needed. Without your wishes in a will, a court usually decides who takes over for you.
If you would like to request a FREE Estate Planning consultation, give us a call at 508-998-8800, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here on our site.