Summer is the one time of the year when there isn’t anything major going on when it comes to finances – tax season is done, and open enrollment and end-of-year planning is still months away. That’s why the summer is the perfect time to get up to date on some of those tasks that can be brushed aside when you get busy, like your estate plan.
Not sure where to begin? Here are some of the to-dos to tackle this summer:
Organize Your Documents
Maybe you’ve just bought a house or had some big life changes this year. This is a good opportunity to sort through your documents and start to organize them clearly, or update your organization system if it’s not working for you.
When you’re getting your documents in order, consider what your loved ones would need access to should you pass away or become incapacitated. It’s not pleasant to think about, but the better prepared you can be, the easier it will be on your loved ones.
When it comes time to gather your documents and information, there are some essentials you might not even think about. Make sure you keep information handy about your place of employment, health care providers, insurance policies, bank and investment accounts, credit cards, professionals you work with (like a CFP, CPA and lawyer) and important passwords and account information.
You’ll also want to regularly update beneficiaries and any changes to your will or trust. For example, maybe it’s been awhile since you checked over your will, and your kids are now of age to become successor trustees. That’s an important piece to update when you can.
Find Your Unclaimed Property
You’d be surprised how many people have unclaimed property after they die, like insurance policies, tax refunds or savings accounts.
And you don’t want to leave your property unclaimed. Let’s say you have an old 401(k) plan that you forgot about. If it remains unclaimed, the state you live in can withdraw the money for tax purposes. It’s especially important if you live in a state that has an income tax because in that case, the state would get the property, tax it, and then find its owners.
One easy way to find out if you or a loved one has unclaimed property is to check your state’s listings. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators can help you find the resources you need for your state.
Be Prepared for Your Family
Life can be very busy, especially if you have kids at home. But taking the time to update, sort through and organize your estate plan and important documents will give you peace of mind. More importantly, it will make things easier on your loved ones should anything happen to you.
It’s well worth it to carve out a little time this summer to get up-to-date on your estate planning. Don’t forget to give them a copy of your estate plan and make sure they know where to find your important documents and information.
Do you need additional help getting your estate plan together? Contact me today to set up a meeting to talk about your goals. You can also download my free ebook for physicians for tips and information about getting your finances on track.