End-Of-Year Considerations for Your Estate Plan
Review Changes from the Previous Year
The frequency at which an estate plan should be revised is relative. Those who have undergone major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, or a death in the family may seek to update their estate planning documents. Home ownership and asset acquisition are other factors that come into play when adjusting an existing plan. Even if no significant changes have taken place, you may find that your beneficiary designations and general preferences have shifted over time.
If You Have No Estate Plan, the Time to Create One Is Now
Those who wait for “the perfect time” to create an estate plan will be surprised to learn that it does not exist. It is much safer to have an estate plan in place than to leave your surviving loved ones uncertain of how to manage incapacitation, emergency medical treatment preferences, and ultimately, asset distribution. Estate planning professionals can simplify the process and ensure that mistakes are not made along the way.
What do you consider to be the most important outcome of your estate plan? There is no right answer to this question. Some may prioritize their children’s education, while others may opt to create an estate plan centered on charitable donation. Your personal priorities will shape every aspect of your estate plan. As such, a proper estate plan requires a certain degree of self-reflection. Your preferences may change over time, but many aspects of an estate plan can be updated and revised over time.
Priorities will also come into play when dictating your medical treatment preferences. An advance directive is an estate planning document which allows one to select an agent to make health care decisions on their behalf. Additionally, one can make their choice clear in regard to specific medical treatments and procedures.
Keep Moving Forward
Taking the first steps toward an estate plan is easier than you may think. You should view the new year as a chance to make arrangements for your future, regardless of your age or financial status. The sooner you begin to craft an estate plan, the more closely it will suit your lifestyle, needs, and wishes. Further, your surviving loved ones will appreciate the thought and care that went into it.