Have an Estate Plan? Review this End of the Year Checklist.
As 2021 quickly comes to a close, do you still have many things on your to-do list? Are you spending time with family, trying to make plans for the new year and ensuring that you accomplish what you wanted to during this year? During this time of planning, we encourage you to also focus on what truly matters, ensuring that your estate plan reflects what you want at the end of this year.
Many of our clients asked us in the recent months what they should be looking out for when it comes to their estate planning. Each day, we meet with clients and their loved ones to discuss just what is needed to ensure that they are personally protected, as well as their businesses, their family, and the legacy they want to leave behind. Let us share with you our 7 point Estate Planning Checklist that you may use now, or any time throughout the year, to make sure that your estate plan reflects your goals for both the present and the future.
1.Accuracy of Your Estate Plan. We encourage you to not be like most Americans who have an estate plan and never bother to update it. Believe it or not, simple things like name changes and address changes can cause problems when they are not updated to reflect life changes. Make an appointment today with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, to check your estate plan for accuracy in regard to beneficiaries, laws and your legacy before the end of the year.
2. Health Care Decision Making. Never take your health for granted which also includes your health care decision-making documents. Check in now with your attorney to make sure you have the designated person you want to have legal authority to make decisions for you in a crisis properly set up.
3. Create and Preserve Your Legacy. Estate planning is not only who should inherit from you at your death. A well crafted estate planning allows you to create a legacy not just for yourself, but for your loved ones. Does your current estate plan reflect the legacy you wish to leave? Schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney to discuss the legacy you wish to create or update, he will also be able to provide guidance on how to ensure that your legacy will be preserved no matter what life sends your way.
4. Retirement Goals and Planning. Did you know that a critical part of estate planning is retirement planning? Do you have goals for your retirement at this time? Does your estate plan follow your goals for retirement? Be sure to meet with your attorney for guidance on how to get where you want to go, not just financially, but with an eye on the legacy that you want to create?
5. Tax Preparation and Follow Through. Because the federal tax structure continues to be a topic of discussion and possible revision on a daily basis, you need an experienced estate planning attorney who is monitoring these changes to keep you up-to-date on what may or may not impact you. Even though the state of Florida does not have a death tax, Floridians may still be impacted by these changes.
6. Long-Term Care Considerations. Are you concerned that in the future you may need long-term care? Did you know that Medicare will not pay for most types of long-term care? Therefore, it is essential that you consider your long-term care needs and how the financial drain on your resources could impact your estate-planning. As the end of the year approaches, think about your estate plan in conjunction with your long-term care plan, and schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney to discuss how potential long-term care complications could impact how you reach your goals.
7. Probate Avoidance and Beneficiary Protections. Do you have an estate plan that will be able to not only leave a legacy but also ensure that future generations will be protected? Your estate plan should be crafted to help you avoid the Florida probate process. While most estate plans can help you avoid probate, very few of them that we reviewed discussed how to protect beneficiaries going forward. This is a topic that should be at the top of your estate planning checklist.
Do you have more questions about what you can do to ensure your estate plan reflects what you want at the end of this year? Our office is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.