Are you ready for the end of the year? As 2021 quickly comes to a close, we know there are many things that you have on your to-do list. You want to spend time with family to make plans for the new year and also ensure that you are able to accomplish and finish what you wanted to this year. We would encourage you, during this time of planning to include what truly matters, ensuring that your estate planning reflects what you wanted it to at the end of this year.
We have many of our clients asking us what they should be aware of when it comes to their estate planning. As experienced Florida estate planning attorneys, we know just how much knowledge we have access to based on what we see in our practice. Each day we meet with clients and their loved ones to discuss just what is needed to ensure that they are personally protected, as well as their businesses, their family, and the legacy they want to leave behind.
Do you have an Estate Planning Checklist? Let us share with you our Estate Planning Checklist that you may use now, or any time throughout the year, to make sure that your estate plan reflects your goals for both the present and the future.
1. Up-To-Date Estate Planning. Did you know, most Americans who have an estate plan never bother to update it? Why should you? Because you may have name changes, address changes, revenue changes and the addition or loss of loved ones to your family. Simple things like name changes and address changes can cause problems when they are not updated to reflect life changes. If you have not updated your estate plan recently with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, or checked in to make sure it reflects what you actually want, we encourage you to do this before the end of the year.
2. Health Care Decision Making. For the past two years this pandemic has taught us not to take our health for granted. This includes your health care decision-making documents. Now is the time to check in with your attorney to make sure you have the person you want to have legal authority to make decisions for you in a crisis.
3. Legacy Creation and Preservation. A well crafted estate plan allows you to create a legacy not just for yourself, but for your loved ones. It is more than just what your beneficiaries will inherit when you pass away. Does your current estate plan reflect the legacy you wish to leave? Whether you are making updates or thinking about what you want to leave when you are longer here, schedule a meeting now with your estate planning attorney to discuss the legacy you wish to create. Your estate planning attorney will also be able to provide guidance on how to ensure that your legacy will be preserved no matter what life sends your way.
4. Goals and Planning for Retirement. A critical part of estate planning is retirement planning. What are your retirement goals? Does your estate plan reflect your goals for retirement? Do you need guidance on how to get where you want to go not just financially but with an eye on the legacy that you want to create?
5. Tax Preparation and Follow Through. The federal tax structure continues to be a hot topic of discussion and possible revision on a daily basis. You need an experienced estate planning attorney who is monitoring these changes to keep you up-to-date on what may or may not impact you. Although the state of Florida does not have a death tax, Floridians can still be impacted by these changes.
6. Long-Term Care Considerations. Have you thought about needing long-term care in the future? Are you depending on Medicare? Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for most types of long-term care. Therefore you need to consider your long-term care needs and how the financial drain on your resources could impact your estate-planning. If you have not thought about your estate plan in conjunction with your long-term care plan, as we approach the end of the year now is the to schedule a meeting with your attorney to discuss how potential long-term care complications could impact how you reach your goals.
7. Probate Avoidance and Protections for Beneficiaries. Do you want your estate to avoid probate? It needs to be crafted in such a way to help your estate to avoid the Florida probate process. While most estate plans can help you avoid probate, Very few of the estate plans we review seem to protect beneficiaries going forward, even though they may avoid probate. Therefore, you will want to have an estate plan that will be able to not only leave a legacy but also ensure that future generations will be protected.
Do you need assistance in updating your estate plan for the coming year? Please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment.