If you’re like many individuals this time of year, you’re starting the year off by creating a list of things you’d like to accomplish in 2022. Here are a few important items to consider adding to your list of New Year’s resolutions this year:
- Establish or review your estate plan. Preparing or updating your estate planning documents is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give your family in 2022. Whether you simply need to establish a will or wish to create a trust for asset protection purposes or determine guardianship of minor children in the event of both parents’ death, it is important to have a customized plan and strategy in place to preserve family harmony and avoid family conflict. Other important documents to consider when drafting a will include power of attorney(s). A healthcare or financial power of attorney can give the individual(s) you select the authority to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf in case you become incapacitated. Alternatively, advance directives (e.g., a living will or do-not-resuscitate (DNR)) help guide the specific decisions of doctors and caregivers if you become incapacitated and incapable of expressing your wishes regarding your medical treatment. In these instances, planning for the unimaginable may help avoid unnecessary guilt and stress and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during unexpected medical emergencies.
- Meet with a financial advisor. Establishing and maintaining a relationship with a trusted financial advisor can help you determine your financial goals for 2022 and for future years.
- Review beneficiary designations. Remember to review named beneficiaries annually for brokerage accounts, savings accounts, 401(k)s, ROTHs, or any other types of retirement accounts. Accurate beneficiary designations will ensure assets pass directly to the person(s) you choose and simplify the transfer process since these asset types can often be designated to pass separately from the instructions in a will. It is especially important to review these designations when you’ve had important life events, such as the birth of a child, adoption, marriage, or divorce.