With 2020 in the rear-view mirror, it’s a good time to make plans for the new year. New Year’s Day may have been a few weeks ago, but it’s not too late to make resolutions that can benefit your life. We suggest making updating your estate plan one of your goals for 2021.
Setting up an estate plan is a good idea for virtually every adult, especially if you are married, have children, or both. But an estate plan you created years ago can easily be out of date now. It can take just a few years for the heirs and beneficiaries you named in your will and trust to become inappropriate due to things like divorce, remarriage, death and family feuds. Fortunately, you have the right to change just about anything in your estate plan. If you do it properly, the changes will have the power of the law behind them.
3 estate planning updates to consider
Here are three things you can do to update your estate plan this year:
- Review your will. Ensure that everyone listed as an heir is someone you still want to leave part of your estate to. Also, check to make sure your assets are being distributed the way you want them. For example, do you still want your daughter to inherit your share of your small business, or would it now make more sense to include your son in your succession plan too?
- Check your powers of attorney. Who is currently listed as your financial and medical powers of attorney? Are they still capable of doing this important job for you, if necessary? Are they still in your life? Is there someone else you would rather handle your financial and/or medical affairs if you become incapacitated?
- Find out about tax updates. Since you first created your estate plan, there may have been changes to state or federal estate tax laws that could impact your estate. Your estate planning attorney can advise you of these changes and what you can do to adjust your plan to shield as much of your assets from taxation as possible.
Even if you don’t end up making any changes, reviewing your plan with your lawyer every few years can help assure you that you and your family are protected.