With holidays upon us and 2021 ending, it’s time to reflect on the changes that have taken place this year. It’s smart to methodically go through your estate planning documents and check it twice!
Even though it’s critical for your assets, family and legacy, estate planning tends to fall to the bottom of people’s to-do lists.
What Happens to Your Digital Assets When You Die?
Estate planning may not be popular, but it is an essential process to ensure your life’s work is appropriately taken care of after you pass. A strong estate plan benefits everyone. Do you own any assets, or have they changed this year? Do you have specific wishes for your belongings/assets? Do you have family, loved ones, pets, etc., who you want to see taken care of?
The thing about estate planning is that it’s not a process that rewards a set-it-and-forget-it approach. It’s good to review your estate plan at least once every few years to ensure that all the information is accurate and updated. Proper documentation is even more necessary if you experienced a significant change, such as marriage, divorce, children, a move, etc., if laws have changed, or if your wishes have changed and you need to make substantial changes to the document.
Luckily, reviewing your estate plan is a relatively straightforward process. If you have any questions or changes schedule a quick call or appointment with Ledbetter Law Group. Staying on top of your estate plan keeps everything in order, and your wishes spelled out to the T.
Estate Plan Update Checklist
Here are a few things to keep in mind when updating your estate plan.
1. Changes in Residency
Have you moved to a new state recently? Estate laws vary in different states — the status of marital property, rules on executors and powers of attorney, etc. — so it’s a good idea to review your estate plan to make sure that it complies with local laws and regulations. You should also update your address and keep your family and adviser(s) informed about where your documents are held.
2. Law Changes
Estate laws change over time. You should review your estate plan to see if it has been affected by changes to any state or federal laws like exemption limits, gift tax, probate and more. If you are unsure what laws have affected your estate plan, call us today to schedule a zoom meeting.
3. General Power of Attorney
Have you designated a general power of attorney? This is the person you authorize to act on your behalf to make business, personal, legal, or financial decisions if you become incapacitated. You should make sure that this designation is up to date and accurate.
4. Health Care Power of Attorney
You should also review and update your health care power of attorney. In most cases, it makes sense to appoint someone who lives near you to be your agent for this role. If you plan to undergo any health procedures shortly, you should review the medical institution’s Health Care POA form
5. Last Will and Testament
Your last will and testament is one of the essential pieces of your estate plan. You should review the details of your will, including your executor, the allocation of your estate and inheritance tax burden, and the plan for any digital assets and information.
If you have a revocable living trust, you should review trustee and successor appointments. You should also check your estate and inheritance tax burden.
7. Gifting Opportunities
Gifting opportunities are another critical feature of your estate plan. Because laws surrounding gifts can change over time, it’s essential to review any gifts and update them accordingly.
Regularly updating your estate plan can help you to avoid common estate planning mistakes. You can also ensure that your estate plan is entirely up to date and in compliance with any state and federal regulations.