If your family is like mine, your biggest priority right now is figuring out what gifts to buy each kid, and whether to buy the expensive tree from the lot or the Costco one that requires a saw.
Taking on the bigger stuff like your year-end estate planning probably seems like too big of a task to add to a busy holiday season, but who wants this hanging over their head when they’re trying to enjoy the eggnog? The good news is, we can completely take care of your year-end planning so you can enjoy the fun stuff. It’s a win/win for you!
Here are five things you’ll want us to address for you before the year ends:
Change in Beneficiaries. Just because your brother and his wife were the best choice for guardians ten years ago when your first child was born, doesn’t mean they are now. For example, your kids may not want to change schools or move away to live with them now that they’re getting older. Make sure the guardians you named in your plan are still the best choice. We see most parents update guardianship at least every three years because of the changing needs and dynamics in the family.
Change in Trustee. Make sure the person (and back-up) you picked to manage everything for you financially (if you were hurt or incapacitated) is still the best choice. Typically, your trustee should be someone you trust, and who is financially stable themselves so there is no temptation with access to your money and life insurance proceeds. You also want to make sure they would have a good dynamic with the guardians you have chosen. If you picked the same person for both guardian and trustee, make sure you really, really trust them.
Inventory Your Assets. People like to give me a hard time because every December 30th I go through my bank statements, beneficiary forms, and trust, just to make sure everything is still exactly how we want it, and that everything is properly titled or designated. It’s a liberating feeling taking care of “old business” before the new year begins. Set a date for your family to review your finances and estate plan by year-end, so you can start the new year fresh.
Do a Legacy Interview. You now have one more year of experience and memories behind you, and have, grown in new ways. Most significantly, you’ve had more time with the people you love. Take time to pass on who you are as a person by recording yourself on audio or video through a Legacy Interview where you can share what’s in your heart. Most importantly, tell your family how much you love them. It’s a priceless gift that would bring comfort to those you love.
Restate Your Trust. So many laws and legal strategies have changed over the past ten years. If your trust is outdated, or if your circumstances have changed, you really should talk with your Newport Beach California Family Trust, Elder Law, and Special Needs Attorneys to see how we can help you take advantage of all of the tax benefits and strategies available to you.
And one final tip when it comes to finishing 2018 strong, be sure to schedule your meeting with us now before the year ends, so you can enjoy the holidays knowing that you gave your family the ultimate gift by taking care of them.
Our December calendar is getting full! Call Bonnie Johnson at (949) 718-0420 to schedule as a time to address your family estate planning needs. Or click here and give us a little information and she'll call you!
Laura Meier, Esq.