middle aged man working on estate planning

It’s Not Too Late To Restart Your New Year’s Resolution for Essential Estate Planning

As we progress into the new year, it becomes increasingly evident that while setting resolutions is a commendable start, the true essence of productivity lies in actively reorganizing and clarifying our goals and actions. Whether you’re cleaning the attic or reviewing your estate plan, early 2024 is an auspicious time to begin. At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we encourage our clients throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the islands to update their estate plans regularly to keep them current and functional. Following are some suggestions about how to approach this important task. After all, an estate plan provides an organic structure that should evolve with your life. 

Review Your Beneficiaries

The New Year is the perfect occasion to review the beneficiaries on your estate plan. Life’s milestones — births, marriages, divorces, and deaths — can significantly impact your estate planning decisions. It’s essential to ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your current wishes and that no beneficiary is inadvertently retained or omitted as a result of outdated information.

Births and Marriages: New family members can be a joyous addition, and incorporating them into your estate plan helps ensure they will have a secure future.

Divorces and Deaths: These can necessitate removing former loved ones from your plan and/or adjusting allocations among remaining beneficiaries.

Protect Your Assets and Your Family

It is essential to update your estate plan to protect both your assets and your family as your circumstances change. 

This is the time to consider whether your financial landscape has altered. Have you purchased new property? Seen fluctuations in your investment values? Had an increase in income? These developments should be reflected in your planning. Contact our astute attorneys to find out how.

This may well be the time to consider establishing a trust to protect your estate from probate or tax liabilities. Or this may be the year you are faced with a situation that requires a trust designed for a specific purpose, such as protecting the future of a child with special needs. 

Make Sure Your Estate Plan Aligns With Your Current Lifestyle

Your estate plan should mirror your current lifestyle and relationships. The New Year is an excellent time to assess whether your estate plan is still in line with your needs and goals.

Any of the following may require significant alterations to your estate plan:

  • New relationships: You may or may not want to include new individuals, such as in-laws, stepchildren, or romantic partners, in your estate plan.
  • Estrangements: It may be time to re-evaluate whether relationships that have become distant, strained, or estranged warrant a change in status in your estate plan.
  • New business: Having started a new business may involve significant changes to your estate plan in terms of business succession or other inheritance matters.

Why It Is Critical To Review Your Estate Plan

Neglecting to review your estate plan can lead to unintended consequences. Outdated plans may no longer reflect your current intentions, leading to disputes among beneficiaries, potential legal challenges, and unintended tax implications. Regular reviews, particularly at natural junctures like the New Year, ensure that your estate plan accurately reflects your wishes and circumstances going forward.

Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys Today

Now that the holidays are over and we are well into the new year, it is time to get things in order. Updating your estate plan is about more than just paperwork. It’s about ensuring that your wishes are accurately and effectively executed, your loved ones are protected, and your legacy is safeguarded your legacy. Contact us now to make sure you get started on the right foot.