The end of the year can be either one of the most relaxing or stressful times for workers with families. On one hand, you get well-deserved time off from your job. On the other hand, you might have your holidays booked up with your kids, relatives or spouse to celebrate your usual Christmas or New Year’s traditions.
Whether you have time off or you’re spending time with the family, these last few weeks bring an opportunity you do not see often throughout the year. It might be one of the best times to go over your will or trust and make any modifications based on recent events. If you plan to set aside some time near the end of December to review your estate plan, you should keep the following in mind:
State law changes
Those with estate plans must keep an eye out for any major law changes in California that could affect their wills and trusts. Some directly affect estate taxes, while others can affect their financial status even if it is does not revolve around estate planning. Certain events in the state itself could result in immediate government action. For example, California recently revised property insurance laws in response to the state’s multiple wildfires in the latter part of the year. Since they passed these laws months ago and they haven’t come into effect yet, now is a good time to look back and see how they impact your plan.
Updates for the family
Many Californians reunite with their loved ones over the holidays and catch up on what has been happening to them in the last year. Perhaps during your reunion you find out that someone on your will has changed positions or is expecting a child. If you have any qualms against particular family members, you can now see in person if you can justify your doubt or not. It is also a good opportunity to discuss the plan with your loved ones to avoid any posthumous controversies that could arise out of the asset distribution.
Of course, you also need to consider if anything significant to you has happened in the last 12 months that could affect your estate. Maybe you got a new job and think you could give more or less to your inheritors. Perhaps you got divorced and now need to revise who your inheritors are. You may have also had a major health scare that makes you wonder if now is the best time to search for a durable power of attorney.
While December may be one of the better times to look over your estate plans, it can still feel overwhelming to review every major change that happened to you in the last year. You may want to consider your legal options and seek out a professional to assist you in applying all of these modifications to your estate plan.