'Wrap' up Your Affairs: The Year-End Estate Plan Checklist

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the year and you took our advice of planning for your family. You have a trust and will in place, and up-to-date powers of attorney in your estate plan. The holidays will be filled with joy and peace in knowing that you have taken the time to prepare for the unexpected, and that those you love will be okay after you are gone. With the major items in place, all that remains are a few details of your estate plan for you to ‘wrap’ up in the last few days of 2015!

Evaluate & Adapt

Your assets will change over time. The holidays are a great time of year to evaluate and update any real property and gifts that you have received throughout the year. Have you purchased a new home? Did someone gift you a piece of jewelry? Have there been any changes in estate planning laws or taxes this year? These are the types of things that will need to be assessed and evaluated against your estate planning documents. Work with your tax accountant and attorney to understand how these changes will impact your estate plan.

Implement & Communicate

Your estate plan includes a Healthcare Directive and a Power of Attorney. These are critical documents that are necessary to manage your affairs in the event you become sick or incapacitated. But these documents are ineffective if no one can find them, so take some time out with family to discuss your wishes, share your estate plan with the appropriate individuals, and give clear instructions for implementation. Discuss your wishes with your doctors so that they have a clear understanding of when to involve your loved ones and power of attorney. The more they know, the more smoothly things will transition when needed. Implement a communication plan for how and when to locate your estate planning documents, including names, telephone numbers and other contact information for people such as your accountant, your attorney and any other advisors.

Be Specific

Make a detailed list! Write down exactly who should receive each asset in the case of your passing. Failing to designate where specific assets should go after passing will only cause confusion and disappointment. Loved ones often expect certain ‘gifts’ to remain in the family, so failing to list items and assign specific beneficiaries put them at risk. Double-check your estate plan to make sure every item is accounted for.

The Best Gift you Can Give

The best gift you can give your family this season is peace of mind. You need to be certain that your family has everything they need to thrive after your passing, and clear planning for the future is a must. We are here to help wrap up the details today! Give us a call and we will help you finish 2015 ahead of the game!

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From all of us at Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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