The beginning of the new year is a great time to revisit your goals and vision for the future. Maybe you purchased a new gym membership. Maybe you have reviewed and edited your monthly budget. Perhaps your New Year’s resolutions are more simple: less screen time, more family dinners, or daily journaling.
But have you resolved to get your estate plan in order?
Though not at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolution list, the new year is the perfect time to review your estate plan, take stock of your personal and real property, and plan for the needs of your family and heirs after you are gone.
Here are 5 Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions that should be on your list.
1. Create Or Review Your North Carolina Will
Do you have a valid will? If not, then 2020 is a great year to create one. A last will and testament is necessary for all adults. Without a will, the state of North Carolina can determine who receives your property. You can help your family avoid potential conflicts by clearly stating how you would like your property distributed in your will.
If you already have a will, the new year is a great time to revisit your will. Did you get married last year? Buy or sell a house? Welcome a newborn into the family? If you have experienced a major life event in 2019, then you should look to revise your will in 2020.
2. Purchase Or Review Your Life Insurance Policy
Life insurance can provide the financial security your family needs should you pass away. There are different types of life insurance policies that you can purchase for your family. You should speak with an agent to determine the right one for you. Remember, funds from the insurance policy will be paid out to the designated beneficiaries, not in accordance with your will.
3. Check Your Beneficiary Designations
Retirement accounts, bank accounts and insurance policies typically ask you to designate a beneficiary. The new year is a great time to review this information to ensure that you have appointed a proper designee and successor. In addition, you should also check your bank accounts to determine if there are any joint account owners. The assets in these accounts, if they have named beneficiaries, will not be distributed under the terms of the will.
4. Take An Inventory Of Your Assets
Do the assets listed in your current will reflect the property actually in your possession? As time goes on, we buy and sell real estate, purchase new stocks, liquidate funds and enjoy new jewelry or art. If there are any questions as to ownership of these items, it could spell trouble for your heirs when it comes time to distribute your property. In the new year, take an inventory of your personal and real property and update your will accordingly.
5. Make A Power Of Attorney
Though health and finances may be at the top of your mind in the new year, there may come a time when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. That is why it is never too early to make a power of attorney.
A power of attorney authorizes someone else, called an agent, to make decisions on your behalf regarding finances if you are unable to take care of them yourself. The agent can file your taxes, sell and purchase real estate, and manage your bank account. Similarly, a healthcare power of attorney authorizes an agent to stand in your place and make healthcare decisions on your behalf, including end-of-life treatment and care.
Hire A Wilmington Estate Planning Attorney
Like hiring a trainer to help you commit to those New Year’s health resolutions, you don’t have to tackle estate planning on your own. Contact one of our estate planning attorneys today to discuss your goals, needs and plans for the future. We will work with you to create an estate plan that ensures your loved ones are taken care of well after the new year.