The beginning of a new year brings freshness and a new beginning for many people. Individuals tend to examine many aspects of their lives. However, some often overlook their existing estate plans.
Did you have a baby? Get divorced? Receive a large inheritance? Such life changes should trigger the need to examine your current estate planning documents in order to ensure your wishes regarding your health, property and money are carried out today, not yesterday.
Touching base with a professional
Perhaps none of the above occurred and you’re simply not sure if you need to have your will or other estate planning documents reviewed or changed.
Reaching out to an estate planning professional is still advised. This is because a lawyer with knowledge in this area of law will know if there were any changes to the tax law or other rules, like charitable giving, since you last executed your documents. Further, a lawyer can speak with you about your life and offer guidance you may not think pertains to your plan.
Gauge incapacity, not just death
Perhaps you have executed a simple will and named an executor to administer your estate after you pass away. But who will make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated?
It’s not an easy discussion to have but it’s vital to execute a medical directive that stipulates a trusted individual who can make decisions about your health, like medical resuscitation, or any other issues important to you.
Estate plans should account for your current life as it does your death. Failing to take a look at an existing will, trust or other document annually is important. A beneficiary that you stipulated in the past could inherit property you no longer want to bestow to that person. Perhaps cremation is no longer your wish after you pass away, but rather burial next to a loved one. These and many more often get overlooked.