The New Year is a a great time to get your finances in order. One area that you need to pay close attention to is your estate plan. BlackEnterprise.com consulted Certified Financial Planner Katrina Everett for her advice.
BlackEnterprise.com: What should consumers be doing right now to make sure their estate plan is in order?
Katrina Everett: Creating a legacy for family and future generations is on the minds of most retirees every day. Having an effective estate plan is one of the most important things you can do for your family. There are a few basic things you should do make sure your estate plan is in order.
Work with a legal professional to complete a will in order to provide instructions for distributing your assets to your family and other philanthropic beneficiaries upon your death. You should also have a durable and health care power of attorney. Together they will provide for management of your assets should you become incapacitated and to help make critical medical decisions in the event you are unable to do so yourself.
The distribution of your estate is also affected by how your assets are titled and by the beneficiary designations. Review your estate planning documents regularly. Be sure to update documents when there are changes in your personal situation (births, deaths, marriages, divorce, or moving to a new state) or financial picture.
Often, I find that clients worry about whether their estate plan will create animosity or preserve harmony among their heirs. My thought is that you work hard to create all of your assets, so dedicate some time and thoroughly plan out how you want to “distribute” your hard work. You could really help change the financial outcomes of your children, grandchildren and/or charity by doing a little planning.
For more on this topic, see Four Estate Planning Tips.