The end of each year is full of anticipation and trepidation for the next. And nothing quite causes the latter like knowing that the turning of the calendar brings with it all sorts of changes.
While running down the last few weeks in 2019, it’s prudent to look into tax and wealth management strategies worth pursuing before 2020 rolls around. Depending on your age and the stage of life you’re in, you might use this time to maximize your assets, distribute gifts and donations, or reorganize assets to get the most out of your retirement.
With 2020 fast approaching, take some time to ask yourself these questions about the state of your estate plan and any changes that may be required.
Is My Estate Plan Consistent with Recent Life Changes?
First and foremost, there’s no better time than the end of the year to make sure all of your ducks are in a row. Look back at 2019 for major changes to your assets and family dynamics. If you added property or valuable items or downsized at all, did you also remember to update your estate plan? Were there any new additions to the family, or are you expecting another child or grandchild? Maybe someone passed away?
One of the things we champion at Family Estate Planning Law Group is our ongoing client care program for all our families. Being on our ongoing client care program means you don’t have the stress about coming in for a meeting and racking up billable hours because you need to realign your current your estate plan with life changes. It also means you don’t have the excuse not to notify us of those changes either. We encourage our clients to be in regular contact with us to make sure that all your additions and subtractions from 2019 are accounted for.
Have Any Important Laws Changed?
Even if you’ve had an uneventful 2019 or you’ve been diligent about working with us to keep your plan and assets aligned, new laws or amended regulations are two things out of your control that can directly affect the estate plan and strategy you have in place.
One thing our team has an eye on is the SECURE Act, which will have large ramifications on retirement accounts between new stipulations on mandatory distributions and inherited accounts. While the House of Representatives passed the law earlier in 2019, it has stalled on the Senate floor since. There is still a possibility that the SECURE Act will be enacted before the end of the year (and thus go into effect as scheduled on January 1, 2020), but there are, of course, many other items demanding senators’ attention in these final days of 2019. Of course, our team will keep you updated on any law changes, so keep an eye on your inbox as we would likely make known changes in our blog digest and by sending an announcement to clients.
Other items, like the regular updating of MassHealth—Massachusetts’ version of Medicaid—eligibility requirements are also something to pay attention to. Year to year, the thresholds for assets and income to receive Medicaid benefits are adjusted. By regularly reviewing and updating your plan annually with our team, we can ensure you are meeting requirements.
Law changes are daunting, but you don’t need to be plugged into the world of regulatory and legislative insider news. As always, our team will notify and help you navigate law changes with ease, so you don’t need to worry about government actions making your estate plan less effective.
What Does My Year Ahead Look Like?
Estate planning, in so many ways, is about looking months and years ahead. With each year that passes, you may be getting closer to retirement, downsizing, or experiencing various ups and downs of retirement. While 2019 is winding down, it’s a good time to think about what your 2020 is going to look like for you, personally.
Consider your goals for yourself and your family. Do you want to add a vacation home to enjoy and pass down to your children? Do you want to adjust your estate or financial plan in anticipation of any life changes? Are you confident you have the right plan in place to enjoy yourself during retirement? Or are you enjoying your retirement and realizing you need to make adjustments to your plan?
Answer for yourself any questions about what you want you and your estate plan to accomplish in 2020 and then come to us with those answers. We’ll be ready to modify your current plan or tailor a new strategy to what you want to accomplish and, through that, provide you peace of mind that your assets and estate are protected for your family’s future, no matter what changes you experience year to year.
If you haven’t had a Family Care Meeting yet, or if you plan to make significant changes to your estate plan as a result of life changes in 2019, make sure you connect with your family about finding a time to come into the office to have this meeting. This meeting is extremely important to the success of your estate plan. Don’t let 2020 pass you by without educating your helpers and loved ones on your estate plan and giving them the chance to establish a relationship with our team and your other trusted advisors.
For our clients, make sure you register for our client workshop How to Effectively Update Your Estate Plan with Our Office for 2020 and contact us to schedule a review with our team in the new year if you haven’t done so already.
Not a client, but want to make sure you start 2020 off right by establishing an estate plan with a team that will help you protect your family? Schedule your complimentary consultation today!
2020 will be here before you know it. Make sure you have taken the steps necessary to ensure the success of your estate plan and to protect your family.