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Year End Checklist for Estate Planning

EPlanning

It’s hard to believe that the year is almost over. However, that also means that now is the perfect time to sit down with an estate planning attorney can make sure that your plan is up to date and that it still meets your needs after changes that may have taken place within your family.

  1. Marriage or Divorce – If there has been a divorce, separation, or marriage of anyone that is named in your trust or will, you will need to take steps to ensure that your money and assets are going where you want them to and not to any ex-spouses.
  2. New Births – Have any additions been made to your family through either a birth or adoption? If so, this child may need to be added to your trust or will as a beneficiary. This is also a good time to remind you that your plan includes detailed instructions to ensure that your money is spent wisely for the child’s education or healthcare needs.
  3. Family Discord – Sadly, there are times when disagreements happen in the family, especially if the mother or father aren’t around to keep the peace. To avoid these disagreements, it is important that your trust and will have specific instructions on how you want things handled.
  4. Beneficiary Disability – Are any of your beneficiaries now disabled either mentally or physically? If so, you may need to modify the instructions in your trust or will to ensure that the funds designated to them are used the most effective way. For example, if that beneficiary receives SSI or other benefits, they may need a special needs trust.
  5. Poor Money Managers – If you have any children or grandchildren that don’t manage their money well, you may need additional instructions to ensure their funds are protected and can’t be taken by creditors.
  6. Successor Trustee – This person is the person that you appointed to fill your shoes if you ever become incapacitated. This means this is one of the most important decisions you will make. Do you know who this person is? What is the order of succession for your trustees? Do you need to update who this person is if you have designated one already?
  7. Year End Gifts – This year gifts can be given up to $15,000 to anyone such as a grandchild, child, or friend, and it can be tax free. The gift must be given before December 31 and does not have to be reported to the IRS as long as it doesn’t exceed $15,000. If you are gifting money to a minor, you might want to consider an educational trust for the child rather than letting them blow the money when they turn 18.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today

A Florida estate planning attorney will help you ensure that your wills, trusts, and other documents are up to date and still meet the needs of your ever-changing family. Contact Tampa attorney David Toback today to schedule a consultation and let him help you ensure that your plans are up to date and being handled the way you would want.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0732/Sections/0732.2025.html

irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/frequently-asked-questions-on-gift-taxes

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