Our gift to you to wrap up 2022!
As we head into the holiday season, it is quite common for our to-do lists to grow. We may feel overwhelmed by our personal social engagements, childrens’ activities, the demands of our families, not to mention the shopping and cooking many of us do. We may also feel the burden of the items lingering on our to-do list that we haven’t completed. One item that clients frequently mention that remains unfinished is their estate plan. If this resonates with you, we invite you to read and save this handy checklist of items to help you navigate the end of the year and your estate planning goals.
Talk to your CPA and financial advisor.
The number one most important thing you can do as you are heading into the end of the year is talk to your financial advisor and CPA. The reason for this is simple: everyone’s planning needs are unique to them and your CPA and financial advisor are the people best suited to advise you as to what your strategy for year-end planning should be.
[Do not wait to set up this call.]
Many other people will have this exact same idea. Between juggling the needs of clients as well as their own vacation and holiday plans, to make sure that you are able to speak to your advisors – get on their calendar early!
If you have a particularly complex portfolio, consider giving your advisory team (your CPA, financial advisor, and your attorney) the authorization for them to communicate with each other. An estate plan can be about much more than just what your wishes are—they are also often about strategies for asset protection and tax planning. In these instances, it can be more efficient and effective to authorize your team of advisors to work together.
Your CPA and financial advisors will be able to support you with:
- Year-end tax planning
- Reviewing gifts made during the year, or gifts you plan to make over the holidays
- Reviewing your beneficiaries: have there been changes in your life that justify changing or updating them?
One of the best things about an end-of-year check-in with your financial planner is that they can help you get a full grasp on your assets and debt information, so that when you do meet with your estate planner, you have full information about your assets readily available to you. Having an understanding of your assets, debts, and overall financial picture from the outset will make talking to your estate planner much smoother and should ultimately result in less meetings with them and therefore a speedier process.
Talk to your estate planning attorney
If you haven’t completed your estate plan for this year, make a quick call to your attorney’s office to check to see if completing it will be possible. If not, ask to get on their schedule to wrap it up early in the new year so that you can quickly cross it off of your to-do list.
If you do have an estate plan in place, it is advisable to set up a 10-15 minute call with your attorney to discuss how the year has gone and what changes this past year has brought. There can be many reasons to amend or modify a trust—oftentimes these reasons may not be obvious. Keeping your attorney informed of life events can be critical to keeping your estate plan up to date and in alignment with your overall goals.
Gifting estate planning to young adult children
Another way to think of estate planning is to put it on your holiday gift list. This can be a great gift to consider for new adult children. Typically, people don’t start contemplating estate planning until they reach their early to mid-30s. Everyone, even 18-year-olds, can benefit from estate planning. Consider gifting your adult children an estate plan so that as they begin to navigate adulthood, at least a few essential basics are covered. Remember, once a child turns 18, parents no longer have the right to access or be a part of their child’s medical care, and parents can no longer support children in managing their assets. At a minimum, setting up a health care directive and a power of attorney can provide an excellent foundation for the young adult in your life as they navigate this new chapter.
In summary, it is our wish for you that this holiday season, that whatever the status of your estate plan, it isn’t something that is weighing on you to complete. If you have any questions about estate planning, the process, how it can support you and your loved ones, please use the link to make an appointment, or give us a call at (408) 413-1200.
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