By now, many of us may have made (and already broken!) our New Year’s resolutions. However, one resolution that you should make (and not break!) is reviewing your estate plan. Here are five estate planning tasks you should tackle in 2019.
1. If you never signed your estate planning documents, pull them out of the drawer, dust them off, and give your attorney a call. We recently had a call from a couple whose estate plan was prepared in 2016, but never signed. They recently had a friend pass away and wanted to make sure they had everything in order. We met, revised their documents, and got everything signed one week later.
2. If you have never called an attorney to discuss estate planning, now is the perfect time! Putting things in order and making these decisions is not always easy, but it is a gift that you have given your family once you are gone.
3. If you have already signed your estate planning documents, take a look at them and make sure that the people you named as your trustee, personal representative, and power of attorney are still the people you want in these important roles.
4. Check those beneficiaries! Remember that beneficiary designations supersede your estate plan. In other words, if you name your brother or sister as the beneficiary of your retirement account and not your new spouse, then your brother or sister will get that retirement account if something happens to you. Make sure your beneficiary is still who you want.
5. Sit down and write a “digital asset” instruction letter. Today, most people have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and all other types of social media accounts, as well as logins for bank accounts and investment accounts. Put together a list of these online accounts, including login credentials and passwords. Then let people know who you want to have access to these accounts and what you want done with the accounts after your death. If you write it out ahead of time, your family and friends will know exactly what you want.