Everything you can do to get your estate plan sorted before the end of 2021

Updated: Feb 4

With 2021 nearly over (thank goodness!), there are only a couple of months left to tick things off your monster to-do list for the year.

Along with clearing out your attic, booking the family summer vacation and finally taking that box of junk to Goodwill, you really should be prioritizing getting round to sorting your estate plan.

So, as the end of the year creeps up on you, have a read of the most important tasks you can tick off to improve your estate planning and make sure you head into 2022 with an empty to-do list and an up to date estate plan.

WHO should be part of the estate plan?

Perhaps the most important part of an estate plan are the people that are part of it. Making sure your beneficiaries, executors and power of attorneys are who you want them to be is key to an up-to-date estate plan. Before the end of the year, ask yourself...

  • Have I selected a first and second choice for who I would like to act as the executor of my estate?

  • Have I selected a first and second choice for who I would like to act as my durable power of attorney?

  • Would I like the same people to oversee my financial and healthcare decision-making?

  • Have I chosen who I would like to act as a guardian and alternate guardian for my minor children?

  • Have I chosen an estate planning attorney licensed in my state who might be a good fit for me? (You’ll likely want to work with an attorney whose main area of practice is estate planning because they will be most familiar with the nuances.)

WHAT should be in my estate plan?

Another incredibly important element of any estate plan is the ‘what.’ What are my important possessions? What do I want to happen to them? Etc. Before the end of 2021, ask yourself…

  • What is the estimated value of my assets?

  • Create a list of your assets with an estimate of the value next to it to help with this one.

  • This includes banking accounts, retirement accounts, investments, and valuable items.

  • When it’s time to meet with an estate planning attorney, this will help them determine whether tax planning needs to be included in your estate plan.

  • What are the digital logins that I use on a daily basis? (You’ll want to create a list of these and consider investing in a password keeper app or log.)

  • What are the phone numbers and addresses of my executor, agent, and guardian choices?

  • What will my executor, agent, and guardian choices think about their roles?

  • You should always discuss your choices with the individuals you are considering. You’ll want to know in advance if they feel comfortable accepting these roles.

  • What are my beneficiary designations?

  • You should review your beneficiary designations of any account or policies you have.

  • What are my most important documents?

  • You should save electronic copies of any deeds, vehicle registration documents and ownership documents you have in one place. Your estate planning attorney might need all or some of these depending on the type of estate plan you end up needing.

It’s more important than ever that everyone, including young people, have an estate plan detailing their wishes for their estate should anything happen to them. The above WHOs and WHATs cover the key parts of any estate plan that are easily completable before January comes round.

Before you get swept away with holiday planning, take a few hours for estate planning. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sekhon Law for further assistance with your estate plan.

If you are recently married, you might want to grab this handy checklist: estate planning for newlyweds.