Your estate plan is something you need to periodically review, and the new year is a good time to schedule a moment to review the various aspects of your plan. Scheduling an appointment to talk to your attorney is also a good idea, especially given the changing legal and tax landscape that can affect you.
Tip 1: Update your will. A last will and testament is not a document that, once created, you should just leave gathering dust. Whenever you go through a major life event, such as getting married, welcoming a new child or going through a divorce, you should update your will to reflect the new situation. You can do it by adding an amendment, known as a codicil, or create an entirely new will.
Tip 2: Update your medical directives. Along with your will, you should also update any medical directive you’ve made. For example,if you’ve named a health care proxy or durable power of attorney, make sure the person you’ve selected is still the person you want. If you decide to select someone new, make sure you create a new document that meets all state requirements.
Tip 3: Review your retirement accounts and any other instruments that allow you to choose your own beneficiary. It’s fairly common for people to set up retirement accounts, 401(k) accounts or insurance accounts that name a beneficiary and then quickly forget about who that beneficiary is. If it’s been a few years since you looked over your beneficiary designations, take some time to review and update if necessary.