We are fortunate to experience the change of seasons in Lancaster County, and the one that is my favorite is the change from winter to spring. The longer, warmer days are a welcomed reprieve, and it is always fun to see the trees and flowers begin to bloom once again. For many of us, spring is also the time of year when we clean up around the house, engaging in activities such as spreading mulch, planting gardens, and washing windows.
In addition to cleaning up around the house, this is also a good time of year to do some financial spring cleaning. Here are some things to be thinking about:
- Do your estate planning documents reflect your wishes? Specifically, there are three main documents that you, working with your estate planning attorney, should be sure to review:
- Will – Are you including everyone that you wish to include? If you have children, are your designated guardians up to date and are you comfortable with any trust provisions?
- Power of Attorney – Has this been updated within the last six years and does this document reflect your current wishes?
- Medical Directives – Do you have medical directives clarified and are they reflecting your wishes?
- Are your beneficiary designations on your various beneficiary-driven accounts, such as life insurance policies, 401(k)s, IRAs, annuities, and Transfer-on-Death accounts accurate and reflective of your wishes?
- As you review these designations, remember that your beneficiary designations will be followed, regardless of what you have written in your will.
- Be sure to work proactively with your estate planning attorney and your financial advisor with any questions that may arise.
- Are you, in talking with your financial advisor, adequately funding your tax-advantaged investment accounts considering your overall financial plan?
Like leaving your lawn and flowerbeds unattended, failing to adequately maintain your financial life will invariably create more work and stress later. By checking up on these tasks each year, you can be more confident that they are being maintained properly.
The Master’s team is honored to have a seat at your planning table. While we will (probably) not be helping you pull weeds from your gardens, we are passionate about helping you pull the “weeds” from your financial plan.