Your Estate Planning Checkup

We’re quickly approaching 2018—doesn’t it seem like time just goes by faster and faster? Before the ball drops in a few weeks, take some time to do a quick checkup on your estate plan:

Locate Your Plan: Surprisingly, many people don’t remember where they put their Will, Power of Attorney, Trust, and other important documents. It’s a fundamental problem—if neither you nor anyone else can find the legal documents, what good are they? Use a fireproof safe at home to safeguard the documents—it’s likely you’ll remember they’re in the box. 

Review Beneficiary Designations: These are often overlooked, so you may have outdated or no beneficiaries on your accounts. Review your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities. Keep a list of your current beneficiaries on the accounts and when you last changed them. You’ll be thankful for this later. 

Check Your Power of Attorney: Is your Durable Financial Power of Attorney over 10 years old? If so, it’s time for an update. It’s important to keep this current, and in 2015, Pennsylvania changed their laws to include additional requirements and new provisions that must be added to ensure the POA is valid.

Get Organized: Put together a list of important contacts, a list of accounts/assets/real estate holdings, instructions for your pet, final arrangement instructions, etc. That way, your Executor will be able to quickly move on administering your estate and honoring your wishes. We have a sheet we give all our clients for listing the location of all important documents as well as medical care providers.

Review Your Plan: If it has been more than five years since you have reviewed your estate plan, schedule an appointment with me by calling today. We can meet sometime in January or February for a review to make sure you and your plan are ready for 2018 and beyond. Your life changes—your estate plan must change with it.

I haven’t addressed the tax bill currently sitting before the House/Senate conference committee. The committee could change quite a bit of the law before it’s finalized. After we see what the final bill looks like, you can be sure I’ll address it in this newsletter.