With all the hustle and bustle surrounding the Holiday season, it can be worthwhile for anyone with an estate plan to take a moment to review those plans in the year end or during the first part of the new year. A good estate plan is on that fits your needs and desires, so your plan may require periodic updates or changes. If you have not reviewed your plan yet this year, here are a couple of pointers you may want to use as you do.
Estate Planning in the Year End/New Year: Personal and Financial Changes
The year end is a perfect time to take a moment to think about any significant changes that have occurred to you or your loved ones in the past 12 months. Has there been a marriage, divorce, death, birth of a child, or significant changes to your financial circumstances? Have you developed a medical condition? Has someone who you named as a representative in your estate plan moved or relocated?
Asking yourself these kinds of questions and taking a moment to review your individual estate planning tools can do a world of good. There’s no requirement to change your estate plan every year, or that a change in your life will require a change in your plans, but if something significant has happened you may need to go back and make some updates.
Estate Planning in the Year End/New Year: Gift Planning
Gift giving is common during the holidays, and a lot of people who create estate plans incorporate yearly gifts into their planning efforts. In particular, anyone who has created an estate plan that is designed to reduce or eliminate any potential estate taxes will often include a gift-giving strategy as an estate tax protection. While you can give gifts at any time, if you’ve not yet given your monetary gifts, doing so before the end of the year is something you may need to do.
Estate Planning in the Year End/New Year: Legal Update
Regardless of what your personal desires or circumstances are, the laws surrounding estate and financial planning routinely go through changes of which you may need to be aware. Talking to your lawyer periodically about any changes in the legal landscape is always a good idea. While many, if not most, changes in the law will have little to do with your needs or your plan, there may be changes that took place in the last 12 months, or laws which might take effect soon, that might require you to make changes to your plan.
Other changes might alter what options are available to you, and though you might not need to update your plan, you may decide to take advantage of the new opportunities.