What are Your New Year’s Estate Planning Resolutions?
A new year is a great time to check in on your estate plan. While it is a huge milestone to create a thorough estate plan that meets all of your needs, it is important to remember that as your life unfolds, your needs evolve. When you have children, get married or divorce, start a business, buy a house, or sell an asset, these changes must be reflected in your will. If your will is out of date it may make certain terms hard to understand or impossible to enforce as written. In short, the potential to change your will exists for as long as you do. The start of each year is a great time to check in and make sure that your current estate plan is still meeting your needs and is effective as written.
New Year, New Estate Plan
While every year will not likely bring changes requiring a major overhaul of your entire estate plan, it is likely to bring cause for minor changes and adjustments that can have significant effects. For instance, if you recently went through a divorce, your ex-partner may still be designated as your durable power of attorney or as the beneficiary for significant assets in your will. If you would not want your ex partner making medical and financial decisions for you, it is important to keep these documents up to date. It may just seem like a name on a form, but in certain situations, it may actually be the difference between life and death, or at least, life or death in the manner in which you wanted it or would have chosen for yourself.
Estate Planning Resolutions for the New Year
We know estate planning isn’t always the most exciting task on your to-do list, but with the right legal team, it can be a breeze, and annual check-ins can become a quick and effective habit. This year, be sure to review your current estate plan and make sure that it is still aligned with your long-term goals. For instance, it may make sense to introduce a living trust or other legal structure in order to avoid probate and take advantage of certain tax benefits. If you have started a business, you will also want to include plans for that entity in your estate plan. It is also important to pay attention to details. Details, like a person’s name, or place in your life, change more than you may realize. Go through your beneficiaries once a year to make sure they are still the people that you want to designate your assets to and also that their names are still accurate. If beneficiaries marry, die, divorce out of the family, or change their name, it can impact the probate court’s ability to effectively exercise the designated terms. It is also a good idea to check on your durable power of attorney and living will, and to execute them if you do not have one currently.
Talk to the SG Firm
If you are interested in updating your estate plan or creating one that meets all of your needs, the Florida estate planning attorneys at the SG Firm are ready to help make this a positive and effective experience and the investment of a lifetime. Contact the SG Firm today and schedule a consultation.