It’s a new year, which means you have twelve new months to set new goals! Make sure estate planning is one of them. Estate planning is a very important strategy for arranging financial affairs and protecting your assets in the event you were to pass away. Here are the top 8 New Year’s Resolutions you should have for your estate!
1. Get a Living Trust or a Last Will and Testament
If you’re like many Americans, you may not have a living trust or a last will and testament. If that’s the case, then make this new year the time to get that. These things control what happens to your estate after you pass, and it could save your family from a major headache and a huge argument in the future.
2. Sign a Power of Attorney
Have you thought about who will take care of you if you become incapacitated? While this isn’t really something we want to think about, it’s important to plan ahead for these things. This will give someone the ability to act for you in financial and/or medical situations if you are unable to act for yourself.
3. Avoid Estate Taxes
You can minimize – or completely avoid – estate taxes in a number of ways. One of the most common ways to fall under the estate tax threshold is to give away your estate. Gifting can be a great way to reduce the size of your estate, however, such a thing should be done carefully and with professional estate planning attorney.
4. Fund Your Trust
Did you know that a signed trust can actually be fairly useless? In order for it to be truly effective, it needs to be funded: the process of transferring assets from your name to the name of your trust. It could be subject to probate if an asset isn’t titled in the name of your trust at the time of your passing.
5. Renew Your Beneficiaries
If your will or trust doesn’t accurately reflect who you want to inherit your estate, then it could impact the entire document. It’s important to review your beneficiaries before finalizing your plan. Make sure to regularly review your estate plan to make sure they’re going to the people you want to have them. Over time, our relationships with people change, and so does your will.
6. Inventory All Your Assets
Where is all your “stuff”? How will your loved ones or representatives know where all this “stuff” is? Inventory all your assets so there is no confusion or questions after you pass. There are many things that may come up when someone dies, such as what your insurance policies are, whether or not you’ve prepaid for a funeral, and other things that would be helpful to make note of.
7. Hold An Estate Planning “Fire Drill”
Not only should you draft up a letter of instruction, but you should also hold an estate planning fire drill for your entire family. A letter of instruction is good to have, but it can also sometimes be vague and allow for things to get lost in translation. However, if you hold an estate planning fire drill, you and your loved ones can have a better understanding of your estate plan. Walk your family through the process of everything they must do to get your affairs in order, as if you have passed away.
8. Review Your Estate Plan with an Attorney
You should always plan to review your estate plan with an attorney. It can be complex and confusing. You should always consult with an attorney, like those at Houser, to determine what estate planning options and updates are the best for you.
Need Help With Your Estate Plan? Houser Firm in Dallas, TX and Surrounding Areas is Here to Help!
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers at 972-777-3589 or online here.