Happy new year 2023! The new year presents a great time to focus on your family’s future. Whether you have an existing estate plan, or none at all, following these 2023 New Year’s estate planning resolutions can protect your family and its wealth.
2023 New Year’s Estate Planning Resolutions
1. Create or Update Your Will
A will is a legal document that records how you’d like your estate to be distributed and handled. Without a will, intestate laws will dictate how it’s distributed. So money and assets could be shared in ways you’d never want.
Now is a great time to either create one or update one!
An out-of-date will can cause stress and tension in the family. For example, if there’s been divorces, children or grandchildren in the family since you last updated your will, then you risk loved ones missing out on their inheritance.
2. Put Child Plans in Place
It’s a horrible question, but what would happen to your kids if you passed away unexpectedly while they were minors?
If you don’t have estate planning documents in place that record what you want to happen to them, then they could end up living with someone you’d never pick.
Appointing a guardian now is a wise idea, to bring peace of mind to this nightmare scenario.
If the nightmare did happen, your kids would avoid the stress where a guardian is picked by a court. Instead, they’d be cared for by someone you trust and know will provide security and love.
3. Appoint a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a person appointed to have the legal authority to make financial or legal decisions on your behalf. If something happens in your life, such as an accident or serious illness, then the POA can step in and make decisions on your behalf.
If you’ve never selected one, this is a simple 2023 new year’s estate planning resolution to make that could save your family significant stress and complications in a time of crisis.
4. Appoint a Health Care Proxy
Similarly, a ‘Health Care Proxy‘ should be appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
A healthcare proxy can decide on things such as:
- Doctor or facility preference
- What tests to run
- Surgery decisions
- Drug treatment decision
- Comfort and quality of life
- Brain damage or disease treatment
- Life support decisions.
5. Create Medical Directives
After a healthcare proxy is selected, you should also create your medical directives. These are instructions and wishes for any medical preferences you have, such as treatment, medication and life support preferences.
Having these in place saves placing a burden on family members, who otherwise would have to guess what you’d like in a very high-pressure and emotionally intense environment.
6. Consider Creating a Trust
Trusts are entities that can hold assets and funds on behalf of selected beneficiaries. They have many different uses, from asset protection to helping with Medicaid eligibility.
They can also be great at allowing for further control over beneficiary distribution. For example, many people create trusts because it means minor children won’t receive money at a young age (as they would via a will).
Instead, a trust allows you to add terms and conditions such as unlocking funds when a beneficiary reaches a milestone or age (such as marriage or a 21st birthday).
And they’re not just for the super-rich (contrary to popular belief)!
As a 2023 new year’s estate planning resolution, consider the uses of a trust for your estate as it can open up a world of possibilities.
7. Organize Your Digital Life
In 2023 almost everyone deals with their finances through apps and websites. Now is a good time to organize things, by ensuring all the passwords are in a safe place.
Why? Because if you pass away and your loved ones need to access online accounts, then they usually will need a password.
Obviously, passwords are very sensitive, so consider storing them in an online storage device or in a locked safe.
This is an especially important 2023 new year’s estate planning resolution if you have cryptocurrency investments! These accounts are impossible to access without a password.
Read Related: How Do I Include Cryptocurrency in My Estate Planning?
8. Review Your Insurance
Everyone should take some time to focus on insurance planning. Many people have big gaps in their life insurance coverage and don’t realize they can use it creatively to optimize their estate plans.
You should be certain you have enough coverage for risks that can affect you and your family. You can also modify deductibles to customize the coverage to your budget.
Experts suggest that you focus on personal excess liability or umbrella coverage. These policies are considered vital in protecting wealth, as they go beyond the modest limits of a homeowners policy.
Many people also cut back on long-term care insurance, but if you become incapacitated it’s that which will ensure you and your family can survive.
9. Protect Your Pets
What will happen to your pets if you pass away or become incapacitated? As a 2023 new year’s estate planning resolution, take some time out to plan for them.
- Name a guardian who will look after the pet if you pass away or are unable to care for them any longer.
- Make a list of requirements and instructions for your pet.
- Consider a pet trust (A trust that holds funds for the use of the pet only.)
10. Plan for Your Future with Medicaid Planning
Applying for Medicaid for long-term care or a nursing home requires planning years in advance – the earlier the better. If you’re nearing the age where that is on the horizon, then as a 2023 new year’s resolution for estate planning you should take the steps to get started.
Talk to an Elder Law attorney to see what’s necessary. Medicaid has a 5-year lookback period which means some action should be taken far in advance – such as spending down on excess income and assets that restrict you from Medicaid eligibility.
Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you need assistance with your estate planning in 2023, our Florida estate planning lawyers can help. From drafting wills to creating trusts, we regularly help families of all financial situations optimize their estate plans. Free Consultations
Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With award-winning experienced estate planning attorneys, they can help you create a will to avoid complications for your family after your death.
Schedule a free consultation today to get started.