Estate Planning Tips for 2014

It's a new year, which means that it may be time for you to review your estate planning or make sure that you have accounted for all of the changes that may have occurred in 2013. For example, if you had a baby, and your previous heir, a nephew, disowned your family, you will have to make alterations to any will that you already had in place. You may also want to alter your will based on pay raises or new purchases. If you purchased a vacation home in Malibu during the year 2013, then you will want to include this valuable asset in your will to make sure that it doesn't get left behind.

There are a variety of different steps that you may want to take to make sure that you are prepared for whatever may come your way in the area of estate planning for 2014. First of all, it is important to review. Get out a pen and paper and go over all major purchases, changes in family dynamics, financial alterations, or any other changes that occurred. Check to see which of these purchases were put in your most recent draft of your will, or are accounted for in a different estate planning method.

Also, with a full year past you may have learned that some of your relatives and friends are not as trustworthy as you believed them to be. Make sure that your life insurance payout, your stock proceeds, or any other assets that have been designated are given to someone that you can trust to be a good steward with them. Divorce, births, deaths, and changes in relationships can alter one's wishes as to who will receive benefits.

Also, make sure that the person that you have listed as your executor for your estate is who you would like it to be. If you have a guardian who is designated to take care of your kids should anything happen to them, then you will want to make sure that this person is still up to the task and that this should stay the same for another year.

If you don't have a healthcare proxy in place, it is important that you do this. You may want to get a professional to help you draft this official document which will give particular family members or friends the right to make medical decisions on your behalf while you are incapacitated. If you haven't done so yet, it is important that you consider your online assets this year.

Technology is becoming more and more valuable with every year that passes. If you have invested in online purchases or if you have documents and accounts that are only accessible online, consider what you want to do with them. You may want to even will your passwords to someone in your will, giving them the permission to access all of these accounts.

Another technological concern is e-filing. Many state governments are turning all of their documents into digital files. E-filing is a new and efficient way to store documents. Make sure that all of your important documents are converted into digital files if your state is planning to convert to e-filing in the near future. While the ancient tradition of hiding a will may sound romantic, it is often ineffective and in some cases individuals the will may not be found until after probate has been completed.

Don't hesitate to involve an attorney when you are making decisions about the future of your estate. Estate planning is very serious, and it is best for you to hire an attorney to help you whenever you are making these decisions!