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New Year’s resolution: Update your estate plan

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2018 | Uncategorized

Winding down the year, you may be thinking of making resolutions and setting goals for 2019. Instead of the ones you make each year, like losing weight and saving money, perhaps you would like to do more to demonstrate your love for your family. One easy way to do this is to make sure your estate plan is up-to-date and relevant.

Hardly a year goes by that doesn’t bring some change in a person’s life. Over the past year, you may have had fluctuations in the makeup of your family, your finances or your opinions. Even amendments in tax laws can affect your estate plan. These kinds of changes can render the most solid estate plan obsolete, leaving your loved ones with frustration and potential legal disputes. Taking steps from time to time to review your plan can relieve your family of these heartaches.

Accurate beneficiary designations

The first place to look in your plan for outdated information is your beneficiaries. This includes your will, retirement accounts and life insurance policies. You may be surprised to find that any of these documents designate your assets to an ex-spouse, a loved one who passed away or someone to whom you no longer want to leave an inheritance. Imagine the hurt your new spouse would feel when learning that you did not add him or her to your estate plan.

Additionally, you may have a new child, grandchildren, or son or daughter-in-law whom you have not included in your estate plan. Taking the time now to fix these issues can save your loved ones grief in the future.

What else can you update?

In addition to reviewing your beneficiaries, there are other critical parts of your estate plan that can easily become obsolete if you do not revise them periodically, including:

  • An updated inventory of your assets and property values
  • The assets you may still need to fund to your trust or remove from your trust if you no longer own them
  • Your financial power of attorney designation
  • Your health care proxy designation
  • Your advance health care directive
  • The plan and passwords for your digital assets

Your South Dakota attorney can assist you in reviewing and updating these items to ensure your estate plan is the most current it can be. Meanwhile, you may want to take advantage of the family gatherings over the holidays to bring your loved ones up to speed on your plans. These may be sensitive and emotional conversations, but they may also bring peace of mind to those you love most.