Can you believe that it’s December already? Seriously, where does the time go?
As you’re getting ready for the holidays and closing out business needs for the end of the year, remember to take care of your estate plan too.
Gather Your Information
As the year winds down, we start to think about what we’ve accomplished in the previous year.
Did we meet the goals we set for ourselves? What do we need to do to deliver on those objectives in the next 3–4 weeks?
Reviewing past activities, we naturally want to gather up files, receipts, and inventory lists. While you may only think about giving those receipts to your accountant, it’s important to keep your estate-planning attorney in the loop as well.
It’s to ensure your estate plan keeps up with life’s changes, that it protects your assets for your family should anything happen to you unexpectedly.
Information You’ll Need
Consider what you need you to add before you schedule an appointment with your estate planning attorney.
Did you spend more than $1,000 on anything this year? Of course, you may have spent more, but $1,000 is a good threshold to start keeping track. You may have purchased real estate, vehicles, jewelry, electronics, and technology.
Keep those receipts and take pictures of anything new in the home. For jewelry and property, be sure you have a record of your appraisals. This is information you’ll want to share with your attorney as well as with your insurance agent.
Did you open a new bank account this year? How about new investment accounts, such as a 529, IRA, or life insurance? Perhaps you chose to invest some money in the stock market? You will want to talk to your estate-planning attorney about the best ways to make those purchases, such as through a trust.
Changes in Your Family
Did this past year bring about a marriage, divorce, death, or addition of a child to your family? Are you now caring for aging parents? All of these life-status changes can have an effect on your estate plan. You’ll want to be sure to mention them to your attorney during your year-end estate planning.
Although a business is not a family member, it is a lot like giving birth. So if you started a new business venture this year, make note of that as well. It’s important to share all money related information with your estate planner. No matter if you’ve made money, lost money, or just launched your venture.
Schedule Your Year-end Estate Planning Appointment
Once you have collected your receipts and assessed what’s changed in this past year, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your attorney.
Even if it seems like not much has changed in your life in the past year, it’s still a smart idea to meet with your attorney annually. This is so you can discuss whether your estate plan still works for your life, business, and family.
Another thing that can happen each year is a change in the tax code. You should check in with your estate planner about changes to the estate and tax laws. Clearly, this isn’t something you think about on a daily basis, but your attorney does. They will educate you on the laws you’ll need to know.
We schedule annual reviews with our clients to ensure that we’re all on the same page.
If you’re a current client and we haven’t reached out to you yet, please give us a call to schedule a meeting.
If you’re not a current client, let’s get started! Today is always the best day to make sure your estate plan is handled because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.