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10 Estate Planning Tasks to Complete Before 2018

1. Create an estate plan. Set Dec. 31 as your own personal deadline for getting your estate planning done. If you don’t know an estate planning attorney, ask friends or family for a referral. If cost is an issue, start with the basics ( a will, health care documents, powers of attorney) and then add more later.

2. Update an existing estate plan. If you’ve had any major life changes since you drafted your estate plan, it’s time to review and update. Even if you haven’t, tax laws have likely changed so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

3. Transfer new trust assets. If you have acquired any new assets that should be included in an existing trust, be sure to have the transfer done as soon as possible.

4. Gift. You can reduce the size of your taxable estate by gifting up to $14,000 each to as many people as you wish (you don’t have to be related). The allowable amount doubles for married couples.

5. Create/update health care documents. If there comes a time when you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself, you will need to have executed a health care directive naming an agent to make these important decisions on your behalf. You also need a HIPPA Authorization that allows medical professionals to discuss your health care with others, including family.

6. Review/update guardianship designations. The person you chose as guardian for your children when they were little may not be the same person you would choose now that they are older.

7. Review/update beneficiaries. Your beneficiary designations for retirement and investment accounts should be reviewed to ensure the people you have designated are still the right choice. This is particularly true in cases of death or divorce of a spouse.

8. Review/update insurance. Make sure your life insurance policy will meet your family’s current needs, and consider investing in long-term care insurance to protect your assets from costly health care needs.

9. Discuss your estate plan with your children. You don’t have to be specific about how much, but you should talk to your children in general about what your estate plan entails and why you’ve made those decisions.

10. Get access to health care information for unmarried children over 18. Hopefully your college student will stay healthy and well while they’re away, but if they do become ill or have an accident, you will need a health care directive and a HIPPA Authorization in order for medical professionals to share your child’s health information with you and to be allowed to make decisions on their behalf.

A qualified Florida estate planning attorney can help you determine the best strategies to protect assets; to learn more, contact our Florida law firm for your free consultation.
Categories: Estate Planning
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The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC - Fort Myers Attorney
Located at 10181 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, Suite C, Fort Myers, FL 33966
Phone: (239) 330-6674
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