Once you have an estate plan, you must keep it up to date. Many find it helpful to review their existing estate plan for potential weaknesses near each year’s end.
Areas to study and change as necessary include the following.
Go over your beneficiary designations
Year-end is a great time to look at your will, trust and insurance beneficiary designations. If you recently lost a loved one or expanded your family, your plan needs to accommodate these changes. It is easier than you might think to put this task off.
Check with your representatives
As the year ends, check in with your chosen representatives (will executor, trust administrator, etc.) to ensure they remain ready and able to fill their roles. You might need to name new representatives if your current ones can no longer perform their duties.
Arrange to make tax-free gifts
Annually, you can give a certain amount of cash (or purchased gifts) without incurring taxes. The amount for 2022 is $16,000 per gift. As Christmas approaches, you can make tax-free gifts for everyone on your holiday list.
Review your advance medical instructions
If you have a healthcare power of attorney or other medical directives, look them over to ensure they remain relevant. Change these directions as early as possible if you no longer want life-prolonging measures like mechanical ventilation or artificial nutrition. If you do want these or other treatments, ensure it says so in your estate plan.
Check Virginia estate laws
Estate planning laws can change quickly. Refreshing your knowledge of these laws (or consulting with a law firm) ensures your plan remains legally and financially sound.