How to Prepare Your Estate Plan for the New Year in 5 Easy StepsDec 29, 2011 / By: Pablo Palomino, Estate Planning Attorney / Category: Estate Planning
As the New Year starts, it’s a time of new beginnings, a clean slate, fresh start. Now is the time to prepare your estate plan for the New Year. Here’s how.
1. Evaluate your life, finances, and estate plan. Have things changed? If so, your estate plan needs a professional review. Your plan should be reviewed, if it’s been more than 3 to 5 years since updated or if you’ve had a big change in your personal life, finances, or health.
2. Double check asset ownership and beneficiary designations. How do you own your stuff? Are your assets owned so that your estate plan will work? For example, if you have a living trust, are your assets funded into your trust? Have you updated beneficiary designations since you got divorced?
3. Get organized. Being organized will increase your peace of mind and it will significantly reduce the burden on loved ones’ shoulders, if they need to step into your shoes to assist you. Gather your estate planning documents, financial papers, and other important certificates and documents. Put them all in one drawer, a fire safe, or a shelf in your home office.
4. Make a list of all accounts, usernames, passwords, and PINs. Even off-line accounts sometimes have telephone PINs. Keep the list updated throughout the New Year.
5. Communicate. Let your loved ones know that you have an estate plan; let them know where to find your estate planning documents and other important papers; provide contact information so they can reach your estate planning attorney for help; and, tell your loved ones that you do indeed love them.
If it’s time for a professional review of your estate plan, or if you have any questions, consult with an estate planning attorney.
Legacy APC, A Trusts & Estates Law Firm is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.