For many, the end of the year is a time for reflection and taking steps to start the new year in the best possible position. That is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions, essentially due to their inner reflections.
Some of the matters people reflect on include:
- Their finances
- Their family
- Their lifestyle
- Their future
- Their physical and mental health
Unfortunately, not enough Seattle, Washington residents use this time to take stock of their assets, property and other estate planning matters. As we like to emphasize, estate needs and aspects can change (and often do) over a single year.
Let an estate planning checklist be your guide
We suggest taking time after the holiday to look back on your estate plans this year, including your retirement plans and financial accounts. Doing so allows you to enter the new year informed about your needs and ready to make changes that strengthen your plan.
- Financial power of attorney. Go over your power of attorney to ensure it is up-to-date and that you do not need to change the individual you selected to act on your behalf.
- Advance medical directives. Think about your current physical and mental condition (and your philosophies) to ensure your advance directives continue to meet your needs.
- Heirs and beneficiaries. Check that your heir and beneficiary designations (in financial and estate documents) are current. If you lost or gained a family member recently, this step is particularly critical.
If you feel this list is incomplete, you are correct. We encourage you to add items or situations that relate directly to your life or create a checklist from scratch. Before proceeding, we recommend ensuring that your current knowledge of Washington estate planning law is accurate.