It is recommended that at least once a year, or when you have a major, life changing event, you review your estate planning documents to ensure that they are in order. Changes that occur within your life can cause these issues to be dated or no longer relevant. Here is a checklist that you should follow when determining if your legal affairs are in order.
Update Your Power of Attorney
When you are determining if your legal affairs are in order, take the time to look at your power of attorney, if you have one in place. If you do not have one in place, now is the time to get one in place. You may have a medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney or a general power of attorney that covers everything. Ensure that the person listed on the power of attorney is still the person you want to handle your medical or financial affairs. Secondly, many banks and financial institutions are requiring power of attorneys to be no older than 12 to 18 months. If yours is older than that, it may be time to update it.
Take a Look at Your Trust or Will
The next step you will want to do is take a look at your trust or will. As you go through life, your trust or will may need to change. You may want to change who benefits from your policy if you have more children, or as your children's needs in life change. You may have pieces of real estate or jewelry included in your will that you may have sold that need to be taken out of the will, or you may have pieces that you have acquired that need to be added. Review your trust or will and make changes that need to be made.
Ensure All of Your Business Paperwork is In Order
If you own a business, you need to ensure all of your business paperwork is up-to-date and in order. This can play a key role in who takes over the business in the event of your death and how the business functions immediately after that occurs. Always review papers and ensure everything is still valid and relevant.
Talk to a Tax Professional
Lastly, talk to a tax professional. Tax laws are always changing and evolving. The laws that are changing may impact how your loved one's may be taxed based on your will or trust. Let a tax professional help guide you and figure out the best ways to leave your estate to those you love, without being taxed at a higher rate than they should be.
Are your legal affairs in order, or do you have documents that need to have changes made to them? If you need help reviewing your estate planing documents or making changes to them in the greater Woodlands, Texas or Houston, Texas area, contact The Tough Law Firm. We can help you with all of your estate planning and document needs. Give us a call now to schedule your appointment and let us ensure your legal affairs are in order.