End of The Year Estate Planning Checklist

December 8, 2020

End of The Year Estate Planning Checklist

During the holiday season, we often suggest clients have candid conversations with elderly loved ones about their end of life wishes and financial plans should something occur. Though it’s important to look out for those you care for, it’s also important to use the time you have to start your own estate plans or review the documents you have in place. The year goes quickly, which is why we’ve developed an end-of-year estate planning checklist.

#1. Have your family dynamics changed?

Life happens–be it divorce, marriage, the birth of a child, or the death of a loved one, these are all major life events which in some way or another, can impact your preexisting estate plans. Take a look at who is named in your powers of attorney, living will, and other decision making documents.

If you have undergone a medical condition and you would like to add a family member to your HIPAA forms, now is also a good time to go over that with your medical providers and loved ones–especially if the person previously listed is no longer living or is no longer your primary contact.

#2. What are your end-of-life wishes?

The last year has made many families talk about what they want to have happen to their medical care should the unthinkable occur. While it’s difficult to discuss, having these wishes outlined in your living will allows your family to know your exact wishes with no question.

This document will not only outline treatment, but it will also explain religious and spiritual wishes you have as well as instructions about:

  • Antibiotics and other infection treatment
  • Artificial nutrition and hydration
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Dialysis
  • Intubation
  • Mechanical ventilator

The last point is of critical importance as many people have changed their minds on the use of a mechanical ventilator in the face of COVID-19 and instead of outright denying its usage, are offering narratives to loved ones on how long to wait with no improvement before ceasing intervention via a ventilator.

#3. Your Financial Wishes

Be it through charitable giving, distribution of inheritance, or the creation of a trust for the care and maintenance of a disabled loved one, the creation of a will may not solely be enough to detail your financial wishes.

If you have recently taken on the care and responsibility of a loved one, that ultimately may change your financial status and responsibilities to that person. In addition, if you have lost a job or have changed positions, this may impact your financial situation positively or negatively.

Being able to update your documents to reflect these major life changes will help your family in the future be prepared to handle your estate.

#4. Assigning Guardianship For Minors

If you have minor children or have become the guardian of a loved one’s child(ren), now is the time to consider all of these factors into your estate plans.

You may need to assign new guardians, create Special Needs Trusts, or create Medicaid Trusts depending on the situation.

#5. Meet With an Estate Planning Attorney

The last year has shown us all just how fragile and uncertain life can be. But that doesn’t mean we pretend it will change overnight–we just get prepared. By creating a checklist for your estate planning documents or reviewing your preexisting estate plans, you are preparing your family for the future with the most important thing in mind–your wishes.

End of the Year Estate Planning Checklist with Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano

The end of the year can be incredibly busy for families across NEPA. But your future and your healthcare wishes are worth the time. Give us a call–we can help you preserve your assets and your legacy. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.

Call (570) 348-0776 and schedule an appointment with Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano. We can walk you through, step by step, all the legal options available to you.

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