The year is coming to an end at a blistering speed. Hanukkah has come and gone, and Christmas will be a mere memory in no time, then the New Year will be here willy-nilly. Even though you think there may not be time to do some end of year planning, here are 5 things you can do that may not bring peace on earth, but that will serve to give you a measure of security and peace of mind this chaotic time of year:
- 1. Review your beneficiaries – call you agent, look online, or at your documents to make sure that your life insurance policies and retirement accounts, CDs and other accounts name the correct beneficiaries. Pro-tip – if you make a change, keep a copy of the form you send and proof of when you sent it. Make sure you obtain written confirmation the change has been made.
- 2. Inventory your possessions – You have a phone, right? That phone has a camera you can take videos with, correct? Well get it out and walk around your house, room by room, filming and talking about what is important to you in each room, and how much it’s worth or how much you paid for it. Just like that you will have created a catalogue to protect you in case of theft, fire, flood, or here in Florida, hurricane.
- 3. Have a family meeting – This is almost a no brainer. Family gathers together at the holidays. You will more than likely be sitting around the table enjoying good food, swapping stories, and reminiscing. Why not talk about your planning as well? Depending on your situation, age, or stage in life, there is always something relevant to your estate plan to convey to your loved ones, whether it’s who wants the family silver, where you want to be buried, or reassuring children that you plan to spend their inheritance so they had better start saving for retirement ASAP.
- 4. Catalogue digital assets – Many don’t think of it this way, but any online accounts you have, from Audible to Zillow, and all of your online banking and buying in between, are digital assets. You’ll probably have some time off. You might be online. Take sometime to think about who you want to handle these if something happens to you, and who you want to have access to these accounts. Many states, including Florida, have laws pertaining to digital assets and how they should be handled.
- 5. Consider other options – Do you have a will? If so, you may want to learn about the flexibility and the benefits of a trust. You may not have time to take action, but you can learn more about making your estate plan as effective as it can be.
The end of the year is one of the best times to review your estate plan with an eye toward making changes for the better.
Don’t put off changes that need to be made. The sooner you take action, the sooner you’ll feel better about your current situation and the future well-being of your loved ones.