As the year winds down, many of us are caught up in holiday planning and New Year’s resolutions. While you’re reviewing your goals and plans for the upcoming year, don’t overlook an important task: scheduling an estate plan review.
Just like you wouldn’t neglect an annual health check-up or a regular car service, reviewing your estate plan is a crucial practice for maintaining your financial health and peace of mind.
Why an Annual Review Matters
Think of your estate plan as a living, breathing document. Life changes like marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the purchase of a new home can all impact your estate planning needs. An annual review allows you to update your plan to reflect these changes, ensuring that your wishes are honored, and your assets are distributed according to your current circumstances.
Advance Directives: A Key Component
Advance directives for health care, such as a durable power of attorney for health care or health care proxy and a living will, are vital pieces in your estate planning puzzle. A living will primarily addresses your wishes concerning life support. On the other hand, a durable power of attorney for health care designates an agent to make health-related decisions not related to life support.
These documents function differently but are both important. For example, your agent can’t contradict the wishes you’ve laid out in your living will. Therefore, as part of your annual estate plan review, you should also evaluate these advance directives. Make sure they still align with your preferences and that the person you’ve designated as your agent is still willing and able to fulfill the role.
Don’t Forget About Trust Terms
Many people use living trusts to facilitate asset transfers. This type of trust can be modified or amended when circumstances change, so periodic reviews are in order.
Updating Beneficiaries and Other Designations
Your will is not the only document that requires beneficiary designations. Life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and even some bank accounts also ask you to name beneficiaries. The start of a new year is a perfect time to review these designations. Make sure they are up-to-date and align with the rest of your estate plan.
Seek Professional Guidance
While there are many online resources and software tools available for estate planning, nothing can replace the expertise of an estate planning attorney. They can provide personalized advice tailored to your unique situation. A professionally crafted plan can save you money in the long run as costly mistakes are avoided.
The start of a new year offers a natural moment to pause and reflect on various aspects of our lives, including our estate plans. This annual review is more than just a box to tick off; it’s an ongoing commitment to your future and the well-being of your loved ones.
Attend an Educational Event!
We provide seminars on an ongoing basis held at very comfortable locations throughout our service areas. There is no admission charge, so this is a great way to build on your knowledge as you make an initial connection with our firm.
To see the dates and obtain more information, visit our Seminar Schedule Page and follow the instructions to register if you decide to join us.
Need Help Now?
Learning is great, but at some point, action is required. If you are ready to schedule an estate plan review or a consultation to put your initial plan in place, we can help.
You can call us at 860-548-1000 to set up an appointment at our Glastonbury or Westport, CT estate planning offices, and you can alternately send us a message through our contact page.
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