It's impossible to predict what the new year has in store for us. However, if you follow some (or all) of these tips, 2022 should bring you greater peace of mind. Make sure to make a consultation appointment by calling Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law at (805)946-1550.
Update your estate plan.
We've said it before, but as an estate planning firm dedicated to making sure your plan continues to address your needs and goals, we'll say it again: Don't let your plan become obsolete. It is vitally important to have us review your plan whenever changes have taken place in your life. Has your financial or medical situation changed since your plan was created? Have any of your children gotten divorced and remarried, or started families of their own? Do your beneficiary designations continue to reflect your wishes? Are all of your trusts properly funded? Your estate plan must take all of these issues, and more, into account for it to accomplish your goals. The fact is an outdated or improperly designed plan is often worse than having no plan at all. This is a great time of year to review your plan and make necessary changes.
Make sure your loved ones know you have a plan.
You can have the best estate plan in the world but if nobody knows about it, or can't find it in an emergency, your plan isn't worth the paper it's printed on. We advise our clients to write a letter to loved ones informing them you have a plan and documenting important information such as:
- The names and contact information of attorneys, wealth managers, bankers, CPAs, insurance agents, and other key advisors
- The location of your planning documents, particularly your will, powers of attorney, and advance directives
- The location of financial information like bank accounts, pensions, IRAs, and insurance policies
- Medical information including the names of your physicians, your insurance company, the medications you take, and your pharmacy
Share your passwords.
Chances are you have so many passwords it's almost impossible for you to keep track of them. Now's the time to make that master list with all your user names, passwords, and security questions in one document, and to let your loved ones know where to find it.
Next time, we'll look at additional tips for the new year.