The arrival of a new year often sparks motivation for personal and financial betterment. While you’re busy jotting down resolutions like hitting the gym or saving more, don’t forget another critical area that demands attention – your estate plan. Let’s explore why an estate plan review is recommended as you step into the new year.
Life Never Stands Still
Your personal circumstances can dramatically change within a year’s time. You might tie the knot, part ways with a spouse, or celebrate the birth of a child or grandchild. When major life events occur, updating your estate plan is non-negotiable. Doing so ensures that your assets go to the intended beneficiaries.
Reevaluate Your Asset Portfolio
Assets are not set in stone; their value can fluctuate due to market dynamics. Whether you acquired new property, sold some investments, or experienced market volatility, any substantial change in asset value calls for an estate plan review. This helps you adjust asset distribution according to your current financial standing.
Stay Ahead of Tax Law Amendments
Tax laws are often revised and can have a significant bearing on your estate. Keep an eye on changes in both federal and state estate tax laws to ensure your plan remains tax-efficient. An outdated plan could mean your heirs end up shouldering unnecessary tax burdens.
Reconsider Trustee and Executor
As time passes, relationships can change, impacting the suitability of your chosen trustee or executor. It’s wise to reassess these roles to ensure the individuals involved are still capable and willing to undertake the responsibilities.
Fine-Tune Health Care Preferences
Your estate plan likely contains advance health care directives, like a living will and durable power of attorney for health care. As you age or experience changes in health, your health care preferences might also change. Revising these documents ensures they align with your current wishes.
Update the Beneficiary List
Delaying the inclusion or removal of beneficiaries can lead to undesirable consequences. Ensure your will, retirement accounts, and insurance policies reflect your present circumstances and wishes in terms of beneficiaries.
Review Guardianship Arrangements
If you have young children, your chosen guardians might no longer be the best fit due to changes in their lifestyle or your parenting philosophies. A review allows you to amend guardianship arrangements to better suit your children’s current needs.
Adapt to New State Laws
If you relocate to another state, its estate planning laws might differ from your previous residence. Consult a local attorney to align your estate plan with the new jurisdiction’s regulations.
Digital Assets Matter Too
Digital assets, including social media profiles, online accounts, and even digital currencies, should be part of your estate plan. Make sure you’ve assigned someone to manage these digital properties in your absence.
Realign Your Charitable Goals
Your perspective on charitable giving could evolve over time. If you find a new cause to support or choose to withdraw from a previous commitment, adjust your estate plan to reflect your current philanthropic inclinations.
A new year brings new opportunities and challenges. Make it a resolution to consult your estate planning attorney for a comprehensive review. An up-to-date estate plan serves as both a roadmap for your financial legacy and a reassurance for your loved ones. Don’t let another year pass without ensuring your estate plan is in sync with your current life stage and objectives.
Let’s Get Started!
We can help if you would like to schedule a plan review as the new year approaches. You can reach our Warren, NJ estate planning office by phone at 908-222-8803, and you can simply fill out our contact form if you would rather send us a message.
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