The holidays and end-of-year are a time for reflection… and planning. Estate planning is one of many things that you may want to review as you close out the year. Be sure to include these in your year-end estate planning tasks.
Changes to Assets & Liabilities
If your assets or liabilities changed over this last year, where does the value of your estate currently fall relative to federal and state estate tax thresholds? Re-evaluate your estate planning strategies if there were major changes to your finances. Doing so will help you minimize tax liabilities and preserve the value of your estate. Additionally, new or removed accounts should also be updated within the plan.
Beneficiaries are a critical component to your estate plan. You may want to update beneficiary designations based on changes in your family life, such as marriage, divorce, or birth of new children or grandchildren. Forgetting to make such changes may exclude important family members from your estate or result in unwanted beneficiaries inheriting your estate. Year-end estate planning tasks should, therefore, always include a review of your beneficiaries.
We all get a lot of paperwork during the year, so it tends to pile up. Once a year, look through and organize this paperwork. Place essential documents related to your estate and finances in a safe location. This will make it easier for your family to find should something unexpectedly happen to you. Shred any documents that you no longer need. If you’re tech savvy, scan documents for digital storage or to keep as a backup to your paper files.
Contact Your Estate Planning Attorney
Should your year-end estate planning tasks result in a need to update legal documents included in your Massachusetts estate plan, give our team a call. In addition to assisting with your desired changes, we will perform a comprehensive estate planning review. This will identify other necessary or helpful updates to reflect your personal circumstances and/or changes to state and federal laws.