Six Key Considerations for Your Estate Planning

Maintaining your estate plan can feel overwhelming when faced with all the changes life can bring. Calling your attorney may not be your first instinct when you’re faced with a significant shift in income, investments, or employment, but consulting with us is a wise way to ensure your legal health is always maintained. Read on for six events that should capture your attention and prompt you to reach out to us for some personalized advice.

  1. You’ve opened a new retirement account or established a new retirement plan.

As we all know, planning for one’s retirement is crucial. The peace of mind provided by a solid retirement plan is irreplaceable. The way you and your financial advisors choose to structure your retirement plan and invest your retirement assets will vary, as they are designed to meet your particular needs, wants, and goals. Keep in mind that if you open a new account, your estate plan will need to be reviewed and possibly updated as well. A new taxable investment account may need to be “funded” into your trust through current and complete beneficiary designations. If you’ve set up or started contributing to a tax-deferred account, such as a 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, employee stock ownership plan, or another type of retirement plan, contact us about your estate plan, too, since we want to be certain that your beneficiary designation is exactly what you intend.

  1. You’ve started a new job (or kept the same job).

Congratulations! A new professional opportunity is exciting, and it is accompanied by plenty of financial change. As we’ve seen above, taking a new retirement plan or account into consideration is quite important, and a new company often means a new account. You may also have new employer-sponsored life insurance, so it’s important to seek our help to verify that your life insurance beneficiaries remain up to date.  Again, it is a great time to review and update all of your beneficiary designations. Even if this year finds you in the same job as last, open enrollment for life insurance might give you the opportunity to adjust your life insurance. This means that verification of your life insurance beneficiaries and retirement plan benefits is also in order. We can help ensure that everything is consistent with your estate planning goals.

  1. Loss of a spouse or trusted family member.

Unfortunately, life happens.  Anytime a spouse or close family member passes away, your estate plan should be reviewed and revised to reflect your new family circumstances. Distributions from your estate will likely need to be changed and updated. This also includes when your trusted friends and family members pass, as new personal representatives and other fiduciaries may be necessary.  Regular review is a good idea to make sure the people that you have named have the willingness and ability to serve as your fiduciaries. 

  1. You have teenage children.

Your child’s 18th birthday is not only a rite of passage but also a significant change in legal status and planning needs. Be sure to schedule a meeting with us to learn what you and your teen need to do as your teen becomes an adult. Before they head off to college, or their next life adventure, is a good idea to have them set up their own estate plan, complete with all of the ancillary advanced directive and other planning documents. It might be the best graduation present they will ever receive!

  1. You started a business.

Whether you’ve fully jumped in or kept your day job, starting a business is a bold step! It’s in your best interest to take precautions to ensure your business is fully protected. In addition to the business entity issues, tax planning, and growing your business, there are estate planning implications with a new business. We can help you coordinate your new business with your estate plan. This could include proper succession and contingency planning for your business to make sure it can continue and retain or increase its value if life throws you a curveball.

  1. You bought or sold your residence.

The ability to claim homestead protection rights in your Florida property may have been impacted by a purchase or sale of your residence.  In addition to your timely filing for your property tax exemptions, and gathering your closing documents (and pre-closing expenditures) to determine what you may be able to write off or add to your basis, making sure that you  understand how and to whom your property will pass on your death is critical to your estate plan.

We are here to help and to ensure the health of your estate. Let us bring our attention, experience, and care to the big changes in your life. Together, we can develop or enhance your estate plan to meet your goals and secure your family’s future.

Sincerely,

Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

Article Authored by Christopher Caswell, Esq. ccaswell@berlinpatten.com

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

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