As the year draws to a close, it’s an opportune time to review and update your estate planning strategies. Here are some year-end tips to ensure that your estate plan reflects your current wishes and is well-prepared for the future:
1. Review and Update Your Will
- Take a close look at your will to ensure it accurately reflects your current assets, beneficiaries, and wishes.
- Consider any life changes, such as marriages, divorces, births, or deaths, that may impact your decisions.
2. Evaluate Beneficiary Designations
- Review and update beneficiary designations on accounts like life insurance policies, retirement plans, and investment accounts.
- Confirm that the listed beneficiaries align with your current intentions.
3. Assess Your Healthcare Directives
- Review your healthcare proxy and living will to ensure they reflect your current medical preferences.
- Discuss your wishes with your chosen healthcare proxy to ensure they are aware of their role.
4. Update Powers of Attorney
- Ensure your financial and healthcare powers of attorney are up to date.
- Consider if the individuals you’ve chosen are still suitable for these roles and willing to act on your behalf.
5. Check Your Trust Documents
- If you have a trust, review the terms and beneficiaries to confirm they are still in line with your goals.
- Consider consulting with an attorney to ensure the trust is optimized for tax and estate planning purposes.
6. Gifts and Annual Exclusions
- Take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion by making tax-free gifts to individuals.
- Consider funding education or medical expenses for family members within the allowable limits.
7. Maximize Retirement Contributions
- Contribute the maximum allowed to your retirement accounts, as this can have both short-term and long-term benefits for your estate.
8. Consider Tax-Efficient Gifting Strategies:
- Explore gifting strategies that can minimize your estate tax liability, such as the use of the lifetime gift tax exemption.
9. Document Personal Property Distribution:
- Clearly outline how you want personal belongings distributed among heirs.
- This can help avoid potential conflicts and ensure sentimental items are passed down according to your wishes.
10. Consult with Professionals:
- Schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney and financial advisor to discuss any changes in your financial situation or family dynamics.
- Stay informed about changes in tax laws that might impact your estate planning strategy.
By taking the time to review and update your estate plan at the end of the year, you can ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected, and your loved ones are provided for according to your intentions. Reserve your spot by scheduling a discovery call, or by clicking here.