Now that 2023 has arrived, it is time to review your estate planning documents to ensure that they are in line with your current living situation. The Siegel Law Group, P.A., has five easy but important estate planning resolutions for you to follow for 2023.
1. Review And Update Your Beneficiaries
Early in 2023 is the best time for you to review and update your beneficiaries. Every health, life, and other insurance policy you have should name beneficiaries in the event that you die. Other accounts that have beneficiaries listed include annuities, IRAs, 403(b)s, and 401(k)s.
It is important that you review the beneficiaries named on any of these accounts you hold. If no one is listed as a beneficiary, you should write down your spouse, child, or anyone else close to you in your life.
You can also change the people listed as your beneficiaries on these accounts for any reason. The most common reasons why beneficiaries are changed include the death of the person listed, a falling out between you and the current beneficiary, you got remarried, you had a child or your family otherwise expanded, and more.
2. Name Guardians and Backup Guardians For Your Minor Children
Having a guardian named for your minor children should never be overlooked. The guardian is the person who will wind up caring for your minor children should you die before they reach the age of 18. If no one is listed in your estate planning documents as a guardian, it is imperative that you name someone immediately.
Pick someone whom you trust inherently with the care of your children. The person you choose should be younger than you, good with children, and have the financial means to care for the children until they reach adulthood.
Now is also a good time to choose backup guardians for your children. A backup guardian is someone who can be the guardian of your children should the first choice not be available if the need arises. For example, if your first choice died before you could change the estate documents, the backup guardian would become the guardian of your children if you die before they reach adulthood.
3. Create An Advance Healthcare Directive
In Florida, an Advance Health Care Directive, or simply Advance Directive, has two parts: a Living Will and Health Care Surrogate Designation. This two-part Medical Directive not only names someone your proxy for Health Care decisions, but also gives them a clear picture of your desire for treatment at the end of your life.
Do the following when completing an advance healthcare directive:
- Appoint a trusted person to be your healthcare agent who will make decisions on your behalf when it comes to medical care
- Write down where you want to stay when being cared for late in life (at a facility or at your home)
- Request spiritual care, if you so desire and list the church or religious member you wish to visit you
- Explain if you are open to visitors or if you want to limit them
Do you have a plan for retirement in writing? Do you have one in mind? Either way, 2023 is a great time to review how you will handle retirement for you and your spouse. Even if you are not planning on retiring in 2023, you should still review the plan and the goals you have set for retirement. Be sure to do the following when reviewing your retirement plan:
- Ensure that all major life changes have been reflected in your retirement plan
- Review the allocations to your retirement accounts to ensure they still meet your financial goals
- Check your life insurance policy and see if you need to update the value
- Ensure the accuracy of your retirement benefits while you are still working
- Keep the final pay stub for every year you work so you can review the contributions made
- Ask for a final retirement report before officially filing your retirement paperwork and do not file until the financial information is correct
5. Watch For Elder Fraud
Is someone you love vulnerable to elder fraud and scams? When necessary, an adult guardianship is a legal process that gives you the legal right to make decisions for a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia through a court proceeding and granted by a judge.
Be on the lookout for these warning signs of elder fraud:
- An abrupt change in a loved one’s will
- Changes in banking practices or their bank accounts
- Unexplained disappearance of valuable items or money
- Large withdrawals from the elder loved one’s account
- An abrupt transfer of assets to someone who is not a family member or a family member who has not been in the picture recently
- The discovery of a forged signature on a financial document or other legal document
- The appearance of another adult on the elder loved one’s bank signature card
Call THE South Florida Estate Planning Attorney – Barry Siegel
Set goals for 2023 when it comes to Estate Planning and ensuring your final affairs are in order, with the help of an experienced South Florida Estate Planning Attorney from the Siegel Law Group, P.A. Call our office at 561-576-6206 to schedule a complimentary consultation or submit our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.