Image (C) 2023 Kirby R. Myers. Text (C) 2023 Wilcox & Myers, P.C.
It’s that time of year again, when we often make promises to take better care of ourselves and our loved ones. As you are thinking about your resolutions, please consider our top Ten Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions and let our firm (or your own estate planning attorney if you’re not a client) know if you have any questions.
10. Review your Charitable Beneficiaries: Are you making charitable bequests in the most efficient manner and to the charities that best reflect your philanthropic goals? Ask your advisors about Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), if applicable, and double check the administrative overhead of the organizations you make charitable contributions to this year.
9. Inspect your Safe and Safety Deposit Box: Is it time to purge or reorganize the items in your safe locations?
8. Check Your Credit Report and Freeze Your Credit: Freezing your credit can be a very effective tool for protecting your identity. Do you have any incorrect or unexpected items on your credit report that should be addressed?
7. Introduce your Advisors to each Other (even if only by an email introduction): Does your attorney know who your CPA, financial advisor, and insurance agent are? Do your loved ones have the contact information for each of your trusted advisors?
6. Provide Instructions for your Pets: If you have an unexpected medical emergency come up, will someone be able to care for your pets? Who is your veterinarian? What food and medicine requirements do your pets have? Do you have a preferred company to board your pets at in the event of an emergency?
5. Update your Agents’ Contact Information: Is the contact information for your named agents current and up to date? If not, please be sure to provide the current contact information to our firm (or to your attorney), and keep the updated information with your set of signed estate planning documents. Relatedly. . . .
4. Locate your Set of Signed Documents: If you or your loved ones need to quickly access your estate planning documents, are the documents readily available?
3. Personal Effects List: Have you reviewed and updated your Personal Effects List? Is a signed copy of the updated list with each set of your signed estate planning documents? Please see other posts in our blog (e.g., https://www.wilcoxmyers.com/post/firearms-christmas-ornaments-and-ice-cream-scoops) regarding our recommendations for handling some different aspects of this process.
2. Update your Financial Power of Attorney: Review the date on your Financial Power of Attorney. If you signed it over three years ago, please consider signing a new one with a more current date. Current documents should make it easier for your agent to assist you if you become incapacitated.
And, the number one Estate Planning New Year’s resolution we recommend you adopt this year:
1. Discuss your Health Care Wishes with your Loved Ones (particularly your named agents on your Health Care Power of Attorney): Have your thoughts on life support, intubation, amputation, etc., changed this past year? Please remember that a health care crisis can come up unexpectedly (e.g., a car accident, etc.), and is not contingent on your age. Make sure your loved ones know your wishes. This resolution will help make sure your wishes are honored and may also help to alleviate stress and guilt for your family members and loved ones.
A final note, one of our firm’s resolutions this year is to provide more posts! Please let us know if you have questions or suggestions for future posts.
Thank you and wishing each of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2023! Best, Vickie