Estate Planning Checklist for 2015

02/11/2015

January is generally a busy month for estate planners as clients follow up on resolutions to get their estate plans in order. Here are some to-do’s you should consider for 2015 and beyond.

So I have an estate plan … now what? Now you update your plan consistently.

Don’t assume that establishing a plan is a one-and-done project. You need to continuously monitor your estate plan to make sure it is up to date and accurately reflects your wishes. It is often suggested that you do so annually at a minimum.

For non-professionals, however, this can be challenging. Why? Because they do not know what all needs to be done.

Fortunately, the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog recently published an article titled the "Estate Planning To-Do List."

While the list is meant for estate attorneys, it contains important advice for non-professionals as well, including:

  • Make Exclusion Gifts Early - It is best to make any exclusion gifts early in the year for estate tax purposes just in case something happens to you during the year.
  • Fund Trusts - If there is anything you earned in the last year that is not part of your trust, make sure that you put it in the trust now.
  • Review Beneficiary Designations - Make sure all of your documents have the right beneficiaries.
  • Check Fiduciary Designations - Make sure all your fiduciaries are capable and willing to act in that capacity.

Of course, if you have any difficulties with any of the above, see an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (January 28, 2015) "Estate Planning To-Do List."