The beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to plan for the future. In addition to thinking about resolutions for the New Year, why not take some time to think about your estate planning goals? No matter your age, having an estate plan is essential. Whether you already have an estate plan that needs review or you need to create one, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to do so.
New Year Estate Planning Tips
1. Consider Any Significant Changes You’ve Had in the Last Year
Have you experienced any significant life changes in the last year, such as a divorce, a wedding, or any births of loved ones? If so, reviewing your estate plan is essential. A separation or divorce can have a significant impact on your estate planning goals. You may wish to change the beneficiaries to your will or your trust. The skilled attorneys at Surprenant & Beneski, PC can help you determine whether or not you need to change any legal documents.
2. Take an Inventory of Your Assets
Before the demands of tax season begin, it can be wise to sit back and take stock of your assets. If you suddenly become incapacitated, will your spouse or loved ones know how to access your bank accounts and information? Do they know where the title is for your car? Do they know where you bank and which retirement accounts you own? If not, compiling an inventory list of all of your assets can be helpful. In your inventory, list the name of the asset, where you keep the title, and where the asset is located.
3. If Possible, Minimize Estate Taxes
Tax regulations change on a yearly basis. Keeping up with all of the changes regarding estate and gift tax exemptions can be daunting. Skilled estate lawyers can help you ensure that your estate won’t pay any more in taxes than is absolutely necessary. Funding an IRA, funding a 529 college savings account, and using estate tax portability, there are several ways to minimize your tax liability.
4. Update Your Charitable Giving
Charitable giving is another way to decrease your tax liability. Donating a larger amount to a fund that is donor-advised may be advantageous. Doing so gives you the opportunity to receive an immediate charitable deduction. Then, you can distribute funds to charities overtime that you carefully vet. Additionally, your money can grow interest tax-free before you donate it to the charities of your choice.
5. Review Your New Year Estate Plan with a Trusted Lawyer
Taking time to consider your estate plan on your own is extremely helpful. However, there is no substitute for receiving skilled legal advice. At Surprenant & Beneski, PC, we work as a team to offer our clients valuable legal services. Taking the time to review your entire estate plan can save our clients and their loved ones significant money over the long run. As a reminder, Surprenant & Beneski offers a free estate plan review every three years to our existing clients. With our Southeastern Massachusetts estate planning law firm by your side, we will help make the process as stress-free as possible.