December means many things: dropping temperatures, shorter days, snow angels, family gatherings, and lists, lots and lots of lists. Folks are making holiday lists, invite lists, lists of New Year’s resolutions and, the smart ones are also listing important year-end considerations. This will mean different things to different people but one subject every adult needs to consider is estate planning.
A Year-End Estate Planning Checklist
An estate plan is a living set of documents that requires periodic review and there’s no better time to tackle the task than at the end of the year. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
1. Charitable Donations and Financial Gifts
In 2022, an individual can make yearly tax-free gifts of up to $16,000 per person to an unlimited number of recipients. If you are over the age of 70½, you can make yearly qualified charitable donations from your IRA of up $100,000. These are only two ways of many that you can reduce your tax burden through strategic financial planning. A qualified estate planning attorney is your best resource for more information.
2. An Inventory of Your Assets
As you age, your assets evolve. Did you purchase real estate, sell a business, or inherit money this year? It’s important to keep an annual running tally of your assets so that you don’t involuntarily subject your loved ones to the cost and hassle of probate or any other unforeseen complication.
3. Changing Relationships and Health
Just as assets evolve, so can relationships. Births, deaths, marriages, and divorces among your family and friends can all be reasons that your planning needs to change. If one of your beneficiaries has become disabled, your plan may need to be adjusted to better address their needs. Perhaps your health has changed, or you have received a diagnosis that should be addressed.
4. Principal 401k Contributions
If you’re still working, standard financial planning wisdom says you want to fully fund your principal 401(k)—or similar retirement plan—each year. Doing so helps you maximize your tax-advantaged retirement savings and facilitates organizing numerous other aspects of your estate plan.
5. Family Considerations
Family conflict is the number one reason estate plans fail. You might have all your ducks in a row and yet a frustrated beneficiary may quickly thrust them into disorder if they find fault in your planning. Many mechanisms exist to ensure your wishes are respected but none protect your loved ones from conflict. Rock-solid documents don’t make rock-solid relationships, which is why you need to talk to your family. There is no better time to do this than when everyone is gathered for the holidays.
Contact the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia
To learn more or to address any of the items listed above, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment with the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia before the end of the year!