With the fall season approaching, and everyone getting refocused on school and work, it’s an excellent time to review your legal affairs as well.
To help you do this, we’ve provided a checklist to ensure your legal plans meet your needs and that they are up-to-date. These are just some of the items you should focus on when considering your personal matters and ensuring your legal affairs are current.
- When was your power of attorney last updated? A power of attorney is a valuable legal document, no matter what the circumstance. Not only is it flexible and can be prepared to meet your particular needs, but it can be made effective immediately or when you are unable to manage your own affairs. However, despite its flexibility, it is still critical that you review it periodically and replace it with a new one as necessary. This need may arise if you need to name a new person to help you or if you need to add or remove powers from the document, or if you change your mind about certain decisions set forth in the document.
- Does your trust/will still match your wishes? Once a will or trust is created, many people simply put it in a safe place and forget about it. There are several reasons to review and update these estate planning instruments (and others) including marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, a recent windfall of cash or assets, the purchase or sale of a home, or a recent move to another state or country. Your life changes so your will or trust must change too to ensure that your needs and desires continue to be met.
- Is your business paperwork in order? Whether you own an LLC, corporation, or another type of business entity each year paperwork must be filed with the secretary of state and potentially other government agencies. Make sure all of your documents have been updated, fees have been paid, and licenses have been renewed. If they are not yet due, add the deadlines to your calendar so you don’t miss them.
- Have you met with your tax advisor recently? End-of-year planning is important any year when it comes to your taxes and potential liability, but this is especially true now in light of the 2017 tax changes passed by Congress. The IRS has been busy releasing regulations and new forms so tax season will be much different next year. Learn about your options under the law ahead of time so you are not hit with a not-so-nice surprise come tax season.
- Have you met with the rest of your professional team? Whether the market is a bear or bull, it is important to meet with your financial advisor to go over your investment results annually and put together an investment strategy for the upcoming year. For legal questions, it’s important to meet with your attorney before a legal situation becomes difficult to manage.
Before you make any major decisions about your legal or financial affairs, be sure to contact your estate planning attorney and the rest of your professional team. Understanding how your wishes are affected by applicable law will help make you make a more informed decision and protect you and your loved ones.