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Estate Planning End-of-the-Year Checklist

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyersAs 2017 comes to a close and we venture into 2018, it is important to make sure your estate plan is still accurate and reflects your current wishes. An up-to-date estate plan will offer peace of mind that your family is taken care of and that your final wishes are fulfilled after you have passed. An estate plan also protects your rights and financial interests while you are still living.  

Without an estate plan, a person’s assets are divided according to state laws. This means that a person without a comprehensive estate plan has little say in how their assets are disseminated after they pass away. If you currently have an estate plan in place, the end of the year is a good time to review and modify the plan as needed.   

Review Your Current Estate Plan  

As you are going over your estate plan, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What family changes have taken place this year? If members of your family have gotten married or divorced, had a baby or are expecting to, have moved or experienced big life changes, this can affect your estate plan.  
  • Are you comfortable with those people you have designated in your estate plan? Double check that the executor, medical and financial powers of attorney, trustees, guardians, and heirs named in your will and trusts are still good candidates. Avoid the common mistake of not updating your beneficiaries as family conditions change. Keep in mind that if the beneficiary designation is not accurate in your estate plan, it is possible that the people you intend to leave your assets to will receive nothing.  
  • How has your financial status changed? Have you experienced any changes in expenses, income, investments, personal business, or charitable giving this year? If so, you must account for these changes in your estate plan. December 31 is the deadline to donate to charity if you wish to deduct the donation from your 2017 tax return. If you wish to make a charitable donation, do so now instead of waiting. Many financial experts encourage people to max out their retirement contributions before the end of the calendar year as well.  
  • Do your end-of-life instructions reflect your current wishes? Confirm that your current life insurance, long-term care, and liability insurance plans are still accurate. Make any adjustments necessary.  
  • Will the new tax laws affect your estate plan? Many current tax proposals have created uncertainty regarding the future of federal gift and estate taxes. As the old saying goes, the only thing certain in life is change. Make sure that you are accounting for these changes as you work on your long-term financial plans.  

Knowledgeable Legal Guidance 

It is often uncomfortable to prepare for a time after you are gone. However, by taking the time to create an estate plan now, you can save your surviving family members significant frustration and uncertainty in the future. The dedicated Lombard estate planning attorneys at A. Traub & Associates have the experience and skill necessary to make sure your estate plan accurately reflects your need and those of your family. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today. 

 

Sources: 

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/family-finance/articles/2017-07-14/10-essential-estate-planning-tips-everyone-should-know

https://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2012/02/23/5-estate-planning-tips/

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