Spring Cleaning for Estate Plans

Estate planning deserves everyone’s attention at least once a year.  Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Dust off your will.  When was the last time you reviewed your will?  Changes in your life may affect your estate plans.  Some events that should alert you that your will needs updating include:  Marriage, death of a spouse or beneficiary, increase in your assets, relocation to a new state, birth of a child or grandchild.

  • Straighten up your life insurance.  Just as your income, assets and family situation change over the years, so do your life insurance needs.  If your children are grown, your home paid off and savings ample to provide for loved ones, you might consider making charity the beneficiary or owner of an old life insurance policy.

  • Take inventory of your financial worth.  Estate taxes are no longer a concern for most Americans (only those with estates in excess of $11.4 million in 2019), but you may live in or own property in a state that imposes an estate or inheritance tax at a much lower level.  Knowing the value of your assets also helps plan for eventual retirement or for budgeting during retirement.

  • Plant some seeds to benefit future generations by adding a charitable gift in your estate plans.  You can continue the gifts you’ve made during your lifetime by including a gift to charity in your will, living trust or by beneficiary designations on an IRA, life insurance policy or financial account.  There are even ways to provide payments for life to loved ones, with benefits eventually passing to charity.

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