The New Year is a time for new beginnings and reflection. If last year made you think about your health or you experienced some changes that you need to account for in your estate plan, now is the time to get the conversation started. Some things you might want to do in 2021 to improve your estate plan include:
Inventory Your Assets
Before you can make determinations about what happens to your assets if you become disabled or pass away, you need to have a clear understanding of everything you own. Make a list of all your assets. Keep in mind that your will only deals with assets you own at the time of your death. Other assets may transfer outside your will, including:
- Accounts with a payable on death designation
- Stocks and bonds that transfer according to a transfer on death designation
- Assets in your trust
- Accounts that list a beneficiary designation
- Assets that are owned with another person with the right of survivorship
Gather important financial and legal documents, including:
Keep these documents in a secure location and tell a trusted person where they are located.
Set Up a Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Living Will
An important aspect of a solid estate plan is how your health care decisions will be made if you are unable to communicate your wishes. Setting up a designation of health care surrogate (a power of attorney for health care) and a living will can give you peace of mind of knowing that your wishes are communicated.
A designation of health care surrogate allows another person to make important medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot communicate your own wishes. A living will states what types of medical treatments you want or don’t want in catastrophic situations.
Create a Will
A will is a cornerstone of many estate plans. It states who will receive your property when you pass away. You also nominate a person to handle your estate after your death and a guardian to care for your minor children.
Review Your Estate Plan
If you already have an estate plan in place, now is a good time to review it. Think if any changes have happened over the last year or the last time since you updated your will. Some questions to answer include:
- Have you had any more children?
- Have you gotten married or divorced?
- Have you recently opened up a new business and need to leave instructions about what happens to it?
- Has your relationship with your chosen executor, guardian, power of attorney, or beneficiaries changed in a way that your estate plan needs to reflect?
Schedule a Confidential Consultation
The experienced estate planning attorneys at Blade & Blade, PA can discuss your estate planning needs during a confidential consultation. We will work to provide estate planning documents that are targeted to your particular needs and structure your assets in a way that limits your exposure to personal liability. Contact us today to get started.