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New Year - Time to Review Your Estate Plan

I know you probably feel like the past year flew by! Well, it's 2016 now, and you are a year older and maybe even a bit wiser too. Time to put that wisdom to work right away.

As you settle in to the accomplishment of your new year's resolutions, why don’t you add one more to that list? The new year is a great time to review your estate documents. Take stock of what has happened in your life since your last document review. Do your documents need updating as a result? In many cases, nothing will need to be done, but don't be too quick to assume that this is the case. You should always review your plan whenever there are significant changes in your family, such as births, deaths, marriages or divorces. And your estate plan also merits a look if your financial situation has changed significantly.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself today:

Is your advance healthcare directive current? In my opinion this is one of THE most important documents that you can have, as it matters to you while you are alive! Make certain that you put your health and personal care wishes in valid legal document(s) to ensure that they are carried out. You will need an updated Health Care Power of Attorney as well.

Do you have an updated Power of Attorney for Property? Like the Health Care directives, this very important document can help you while you are alive. No one wants to leave their financial affairs to chance. Don’t be foolish, make sure that these documents are in place and updated.

Do you have a revocable trust? (if so, is it up to date?) Do you need a trust prepared? Seek professional advice if you are unsure. Trusts can be a great device for long term planning and for protection of assets.

Do you have a Will nominating guardians for minor children? I think we would all agree that it is extremely important to ensure that your children are raised by people (or a person) you choose.

Are your beneficiary designation forms current? Pension plans, other retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities are passed to others through a beneficiary designation form. Make sure that these, too, are updated and that they reflect your current wishes. It is possible to designate a trust as a beneficiary so that the assets will be distributed according to the distribution plan established within the trust.

If you find that you need assistance, give me a call any time. I am happy to help. In a very short period of time we can put your mind at ease and get everything that you need in order. Don’t delay, too many people never complete their new year’s resolution plans!

I really look forward to a great 2016 ahead. I certainly hope that you do too!

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