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ESTATE PLAN UPKEEP

2 Important Steps Before the Year Ends

As 2018 begins to wind down, it’s important to get a head start on the future. Soon, much of our time will be spent making holiday plans, visiting loved ones, and thinking up New Year’s resolutions. Before the season gets into full swing, now is a good time to do some upkeep on your estate plan to ensure it stays up-to-date with you and your family’s needs.


Estate Planning is necessary to do during your lifetime for several reasons – to make sure that your financial affairs are in order, that your health care wished will be honored, and your loved ones are provided for upon your passing.


Fundamental Estate Planning documents should include:


· Will with Asset Protection Trust


· Durable Powers of Attorney – (one each for Finances and Health Care)


· Health Care Directive/ Living Will


Whether your estate plan is a will or a living trust, it’s important that these strategies continue to evolve with you and your loved ones from year to year. If you already have a plan in place, here’s some upkeep you should consider this time of year.


Beneficiaries


As relationships and families grow and change, your list of beneficiaries should reflect these changes. Maybe you have a new granddaughter this year and want to set aside some money for her future. Maybe you went through a divorce recently and need to shift over the beneficiary information with your 401(k). Even if you feel like not much has changed in the past year, it’s best to review the list and make sure the people and the assets you’ve assigned them still makes sense.


It’s important to note that you need Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances and Health Care. If you don’t have a family member or friend that can do this for you, there are professionals that you can hire instead to perform these services.


Assets


Just as the people in our lives grow and change, the same is true for our assets. Maybe you bought a second car this year or sold your vacation home. Perhaps we or another estate planning firm helped you set up a living trust, and you need to account for those items you’ve assigned to the trustee. As your estate shifts, your plan needs to reflect its most current state to avoid confusion and a potentially prolonged probate process.


How you go about adjusting your estate plan depends on the nature of your plan and your goals in updating the documents. Experienced estate planners like our team can help you make these updates in a way that best suits your goals at the end of the year. Give us a call today to discuss possible updates to your estate plan!

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