The creation of an estate plan should never be “one and done.” Taking proactive steps in protecting your assets is vital. The one thing you can count on about life is that it will change after the documents are signed.
Think of a will, trust and other instruments as a car. It requires ongoing care and maintenance. As you reach the mid-point of the year, you may see the need for a tune-up.
- Changes in tax laws and regulations are as inevitable as changes in your daily life. Make sure your estate plan is tax efficient. Also, review your will or trust. You may see the need to change or add beneficiaries and fiduciaries.
- Ensure that your financial powers of attorney reflect current laws. If not, changes must be made to ensure their acceptance by banks and other institutions responsible for determining the legality of those forms.
- Check on your investments, not to mention the advisors required to focus on your best interests. Just like any other aspect of your estate plan, do not “set and forget.” You need to stay in contact and ask important questions of those responsible for managing your money.
- Funding trusts during your life makes good financial sense. Your loved ones/fiduciaries are entitled to a shortened process following a tragic loss. The sooner they can take control of your assets, the sooner they can ensure proper distribution to your beneficiaries.
- If you are moving to a new home or dividing your time between two houses, you need to confirm the property that will be your estate tax domicile. The decision you make will affect the estate taxes that must be paid upon your death.
An estate-planning tune-up does not have to be an arduous process. Pop the hood. Make sure everything is running efficiently and effectively. Close the hood. Continue on with your life with the assurance that your loved ones are provided for long into the future.