We all make a lot of the same resolutions every year – exercise more, eat better, relax more – the list goes on and on. Estate planning, unfortunately, is one of those things that many overlook. And even more overlooked is the process of updating your estate plan. Here’s a short checklist of some things to think about with regard to your long-term plans.
Prepare a Revocable Trust and/or a Last Will and Testament
Without proactive planning, you are relying on the laws of the state to determine how your assets will pass upon your death. In addition to having potentially undesired results, this is perhaps the most costly and time consuming means of passing your assets to your loved ones.
Delegate a Power of Attorney
Your chosen Power of Attorney has the legal responsibility to act on your behalf in managing your financial affairs should you become incapacitated.
Execute an Advance Directive and/or a Living Will
An Advance Directive is also known as a Health Care Power of Attorney. This document allows you to select the person or persons who would have the legal authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A Living Will allows you to express your end-of-life wishes, such as whether artificial or extraordinary measures are to be used to prolong the dying process.
Learn How to Minimize Estate Taxes
To preserve your legacy for loved ones after your death, there are many ways to minimize estate taxes, or avoid them altogether. Talk to our team, or brush up on your knowledge of qualified charitable distribution from your IRA or open a 529 account to start an education fund for a child or grandchild.
Update or Review Your Beneficiaries Designations
Make sure your will and/or trust lists with whom you would like to share your estate upon your death. Also make sure your insurance policies and bank and retirement accounts have updated beneficiaries listed.
Document Your Assets
Make a master list of all of your assets, bank accounts, property, and anything of value that you own. Once you’ve compiled this list, it’s easy to update it every year or so and add to your estate documents.
Digital Estate Plan
What happens to all of those photos you posted on Facebook upon your passing? Everything you’ve posted on social media or in the “cloud” is your property. It’s a good idea to have instructions on what you wish done with all of this information.
Doing just a few of these things each year will put you in a good position moving forward, and will ease the burden on your loved ones when you have passed and they are grieving. We, at Oast & Taylor, can help you with any of these services and direct you on even more ways to protect your property and prepare for the future.