With new year fast approaching, now is a good time to review your estate plan to make sure it still reflects your values and wishes. The following are important items to reflect on as you create your year-end to-do list.

Estate planning checklist

  1. Make sure the funding of your revocable trust is complete. This re-titling work includes ensuring that any real estate, non-business bank and financial accounts, non-retirement brokerage accounts, stocks and other assets owned by you are changed to be owned by your trust.
  2. Review your retirement and life insurance beneficiaries to be sure that they are current and have not changed due to a new birth, death, divorce, or disfavor.
  3. Make sure your healthcare proxy and power of attorney documents in place should you become incapacitated.
  4. You may need to adjust your estate plan because you got married, had a new child or grandchild this year. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one. You may be worried about your children who may not be good at handling money, going through a divorce, or have some sort of special need or disability. These are all important reasons to meet with your estate planning attorney to make necessary changes to your plan.
  5. If you have life insurance policies, ask your estate planning attorney if an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust would be helpful to reduce your estate tax exposure.
  6. If you purchased a new home, sold a business or have been left an inheritance, take the necessary steps to ensure that these assets will not be subject to probate upon your death – leaving valuables assets out of your will or trust could cause a problem for your beneficiaries.
  7. If you are over 70 years old, investigate protecting your assets should you need nursing home care.
  8. Review your car and homeowner’s policies to make sure you have the proper coverage in place and that the cover limits are adequate. Additionally, speak with your insurance agent to ensure you are receiving all the savings you may be entitled to, like good driver credits, senior discounts, etc.
  9. If you are married, speak with your estate planning professional to find out what helps to minimize estate tax exposure upon the death of the second of you.
  10. Talk to your family members about your estate plan. Family conflict is the primary threat to your estate plan.  Schedule a time to sit down with your spouse, adult children, parents, and other key family members to make sure they know your wishes.

Completing this estate planning checklist will help make the end of the year a less stressful time. You will secure your future, protect your loved ones, and gain peace of mind. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you and your family to draft a plan that meets your needs and reflects what is important to you.

Founded by a nurse attorney Generations Law Group helps families navigate the complex areas of elder law to inform and protect loved ones of every generation.


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