As 2020 draws to a close, it’s an excellent time to set your intentions for 2021. You may want to complete a household project, take up a new hobby, or begin a diet and fitness program. Another goal to add to your list should be to ensure that your estate plan is up-to-date and in good shape for the coming year. Here are 5 estate plan updates to make in 2021.
1. Check and Update your Will
When you created your will, you made choices based on what was happening at that time. Since its execution, you may have experienced changes in your life, such as getting married or having a child or grandchild. Additionally, assets that were once referenced in your will may no longer be in your possession. Reviewing your will at the beginning of the year is an excellent way to ensure that this crucial estate planning document is current and accurately reflects your life.
2. Update Your Trust
Having a California trust can be a highly beneficial way to plan for you and your estate. When you create a living trust, you can place assets into the trust and benefit from them during your lifetime. When you die, your funds and property can remain in the trust or pass to your named beneficiaries without having to go through probate. Other kinds of trust devices can also be created, such as legacy and special needs trusts. However, to be effective, all trusts need to be up-to-date and funded, and you must review their terms and the status of their contents regularly. Upon review, you and your estate planning attorney can examine your present needs and determine if your existing trust requires changes, and if there are other trusts that may benefit you.
3. Is Your Advance Health Care Directive Current?
A California Advance Health Care Directive is another powerful estate planning device. This tool permits you to name a trusted decision-maker to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Your Advance Health Care Directive also allows you to leave specific instructions for your medical treatment providers that your decision-maker will be overseeing. It’s crucial that you review this document each year and make any necessary updates to ensure that it accurately reflects your preferences.
4. How is Your Power of Attorney?
Another important 2021 estate planning update will be to your power of attorney for finances. Your power of attorney for finances is the estate planning tool that will permit you to protect your fiscal health in the event of incapacity. This legal document lets you name another person as your agent so that they have the legal authority to step into your shoes and make financial decisions on your behalf. The agent’s authority can be as broad or narrow as the power of attorney document provides. This device is essential to protecting your financial well-being and should be reviewed annually to ensure that it will meet all of your needs.
5. Your Beneficiaries
Estate planning usually involves heirs and beneficiaries. These individuals may be inheriting through a will or benefitting from a trust, but they may also be named in life insurance policies and retirement plans. Often employees name beneficiaries when they begin a job and forget to make updates. Likewise, life insurance plans may be purchased and forgotten. Updating your heirs and beneficiaries is an integral part of ensuring that your 2021 estate plan is in order.
Meeting with Your California Estate Planning Attorney
The first step in updating your California estate plan is to meet with an experienced California estate planning attorney. You and your counsel can review your plan and discuss any changes to your circumstances that may impact your California estate plan in the coming year. Together, you and your estate planning attorney can determine the right updates for your 2021 estate plan.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are experienced California estate planning attorneys who can help you evaluate your situation and plan for 2021. Please contact us online or by phone to set up a free consultation today. https://www.salvolaw.com/