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Why You Should Begin the New Year with Estate Planning

Making Updates Year After Year

We’ve entered a new year, a time for all of us to get a fresh start and prepare for what’s to come. An important step that may not have been on your list but should be is updating your estate plan. So much may have changed over the last year that estate planning updates may be necessary in order to maintain that your wishes are carried out as you have planned.

To help you understand why you may want to update your estate plan, here are several factors that may have changed over the last year that could give you a reason to pause and work on your plan.

Changes to Your Beneficiaries

People change over time, and sometimes your relationships with other people may also change. For example, if you got married at some point over the last year, you will likely want to update your estate plan to ensure that your new spouse is listed as the beneficiary of certain assets or your power of attorney. Conversely, if you and your spouse got divorced at some point in the last year, it may be in your best interest to remove them from your estate plan so that they do not remain a beneficiary and receive assets or maintain power of attorney in the event you become incapacitated.

Beneficiaries may change as people are born or die, too. If a new family member was born, such as a grandchild, you may wish to update your estate plan to include them in your will. If someone passes away, you should remove them from your estate plan.

Beneficiaries may also include non-family members, as well. Many people choose to leave financial gifts to nonprofit organizations or even their alma mater. You may choose to work with a different nonprofit, or perhaps your relationship with your alma mater has soured and you no longer wish to leave them anything when you pass. Regardless of the reason for the switch, if such a change has occurred, you should update your estate plan accordingly.

Changes in Assets

You can accumulate a lot of purchases and assets over the course of a year. When you gain a number of assets, your estate plan should be updated to include these additions to your portfolio. Work with an estate planning attorney to add these new assets and designate beneficiaries for each.

Similarly, you may have begun collecting on a retirement plan or pension plan. Consult with an estate planning attorney to determine how best to move forward if such a thing is occurring.

Changes in Taxes

Taxes are one of the few certainties in life, yet tax changes can occur annually, putting what you may think of as a steady estate plan in limbo. Whether at the state, federal, or local level, it would be wise to conduct some research into any tax changes that may have occurred over the last year and update your estate plan accordingly.

Change in Residence

Perhaps you recently moved out of Colorado or are new to the state within the last year. If either circumstance is true, you will definitely want to update your estate plan to meet your new state’s requirements. Moving has the potential to make part or all of your estate plan invalid, so consult with an attorney in your new state to see what changes need to be made.

Working with an Attorney to Handle the Challenges

Estate planning can be complicated, and whether you’re simply updating your plan or are creating one for the first time, it is wise to sit down with an attorney who understands state guidelines and can help you craft a document that meets requirements and your needs. At Drexler Law our team of attorneys can help you work through your estate plan and make sure that your family is protected.

To learn more about estate plans in Colorado or to schedule a consultation, call us at (719) 259-0050 or visit us online.