It’s an annual tradition for Americans to start the New Year with a positive attitude and optimistic goals for the coming year. New Year’s Resolutions tend to be on many different topics; two popular resolutions are losing weight and getting organized. But one thing that not enough people think about at the beginning of the new year is Estate Planning. Have you included Estate Planning in your 2022 New Year Resolutions?
If your goal is to make a positive change for yourself and your family, creating an Estate Plan is absolutely something you should consider and take action on early this year. When making New Year’s Resolutions, what could be more important than ensuring that if something were to happen to you, your loved ones would be taken care of?
What Is An Estate Plan?
An Estate Plan is a legally binding document that explains exactly what you want to happen to your property and other assets if something happens to you, as well as who will take care of any minor children. In the event that you are alive but unable to make decisions for yourself this Plan will also explain your healthcare wishes and/or designate a person to make medical decisions for you. A good Estate Plan explains your wishes on how your assets should be handled after you’re gone, but the benefits of an Estate Plan go far beyond the distribution of your holdings. It can also keep your Estate out of Probate while protecting your children and grandchildren’s inheritance from divorces, lawsuits and creditors.
3 Estate Planning New Year Resolutions for 2022
1. Create an Estate Plan
The first thing you need to do is create an Estate Plan. By working with an experienced Florida Estate Planning Attorney who understands your specific situation as well as Florida Probate law, you will be able to make sure that your Estate Plan reflects all of your wishes and that it’s legally binding. After all, there’s no point in creating a Plan that is not legally enforceable when the time comes. If you die without an Estate Plan in Florida, your assets will be distributed by the Probate Court according to Florida intestate laws.
2. Review and Update Your Current Estate Plan
Do you already have an Estate Plan? If so, that’s great! You’re one step ahead of many people: 50- 60% of Americans don’t have a Will or Trust. But how long has it been since you last looked at your Estate Plan? If it’s been more than 5 years since you last reviewed your Will or Trusts, or if you’ve had significant changes to your family such as a birth or death or a divorce or marriage, you need to review and update your beneficiaries. Individual and corporate taxes have changed, the SECURE Act became law in 2020 and many tax exemptions have changed in the past few years. If it’s been a while, 2022 is time to take a closer look:
- Who are currently the beneficiaries of your Plan? Do you want them to remain beneficiaries?
- Have you made provisions for gifts or trusts to your children, grandchildren and charities?
- Have your family members changed since you last updated your Estate Plan? Have there been marriages, deaths, births? You may want to add new beneficiaries, change some of your heirs or even remove some people from your Plan.
January is a good time to contact your Estate Planning Lawyer to review your Estate Plan and make changes and updates.
3. Let Your Loved Ones Know You Have an Estate Plan and Where it Is
Having an Estate Plan is important, but you also need to make sure that your loved ones know you have one and where it is stored. If your family doesn’t know you have a Will or Trust, it can cost them time, money and stress, and your assets may not be distributed the way you want.
Make sure that someone (or preferably a few someone’s!) knows where to find your estate plan. If your family can’t find your Estate Plan, they won’t be able to follow your wishes and that’s the same as not having one at all. Then, make sure that let someone you trust know where you store your Plan so that it’s available when needed.
If you already have an Estate Plan you’re ahead of the game, but that doesn’t mean you’re done. Make sure your Estate Planning Resolutions for 2022 include a review of your Plan with a trusted, experienced attorney and making any needed updates and changes. Then, make sure that you tell someone where you store your Plan so that it’s always available when needed.
TRUSTED AND COMPASSIONATE ESTATE PLANNING
Provide your family with Peace of Mind and protection by updating or creating an Estate Plan that protects them after you are gone, or if you become seriously ill. With over 20 years of Estate Planning experience, South Florida Attorney Barry D. Siegel at The Siegel Law Group, P.A. knows firsthand what can happen if you are unprepared for life’s greatest challenges. A knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer can help ensure that you make well-informed decisions about your wishes.
Call us toll-free at 855-FLA-ESTATE or at 561-955-8515 or schedule a free consultation.