It’s critical you keep your estate plan up to date, but with recent changes, this is even more true. This article prepares you with everything you need to know for your estate planning portfolio, discussing:
- Changes to the Required Minimum Distributions.
- Things to consider when funeral planning.
- The power of a living will and healthcare power of attorney.
Is There Any End Of Year Estate Planning I Should Be Doing Now To Prepare For Any Upcoming Changes To Relevant Laws In 2024?
It’s essential to periodically revisit your trust, wills and powers of attorney to ensure they align with your current wishes. I generally recommend doing this every two to three years. Doing so allows you to assess whether any adjustments are needed, such as changes to appointed agents or personal representatives.
A significant change affecting retirement planning pertains to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). As of about a year ago, the age for RMDs from pension plans and 401(k)s has been raised from 70 and a half to 72. If you have a pension plan and you turn 72 during the year, you will have to withdraw a specific amount from your plan.
If you’re approaching 72 or have already reached that milestone, take note of the RMD changes. However, if you aren’t, you have the flexibility to wait until you’re 73 before initiating RMDs. Being aware of these rules and timelines is vital to making informed decisions about your retirement planning.
To avoid any surprises or compliance issues, it’s wise to check your wills, powers of attorney, and retirement plans before the new year. This proactive step ensures that your estate planning reflects your current intentions and aligns with the latest regulations, especially considering the recent adjustments to RMD ages.
Is There Any End Of The Year Tax Planning I Can Or Should Do Before The New Year?
Conducting an annual review of your income, particularly if you hold marketplace insurance is a very wise thing to do. Ensuring that the reported income aligns with your actual financial situation is essential for maintaining accurate premium tax credits.
If you’ve experienced changes in income, such as a raise or bonus, it’s important to review and update the information provided when you initially obtained the insurance. Any increase in income may result in adjustments to your premium tax credits. It’s possible that you might need to repay a portion of the credits that were initially provided, which contributed to a lower premium on your insurance.
Maintaining accurate income information ensures that your premium tax credits are appropriately calculated, preventing any unexpected financial obligations. Failing to address income changes may lead to discrepancies between your reported and actual financial status, impacting the subsidies you receive.
Do Most People Plan For Funeral Expenses Within Their Estate Plan? Should And Can This Be Included?
Unfortunately, most people do not preplan. This puts their loved ones in a tough position, especially since they are most likely already sad and grieving due to their loss. You should make every effort to preplan as thoroughly as you can. Decide what funeral home to use, and even go as far as to pay for it in advance or designate your life insurance to be used specifically to pay for funeral expenses. This will take a lot off the shoulders of those you leave behind.
Should I Include My Wants And Needs Regarding Hospice Care In My Estate Planning?
Expressing your wants and needs is a pillar of estate planning, and hospice care being a part of it, it’s equally necessary to do the same here. However, it’s important to note that a will or trust may not be the most effective means for this purpose.
Draft a clear and concise document outlining your specific preferences for hospice care. This provides a proactive way to communicate your wishes before they become urgently relevant. While doctors often manage hospice care decisions based on the patient’s needs and condition, expressing your preferences in writing can further ensure that your desires are explicitly communicated and understood.
Share the document with individuals you trust, such as your spouse, children, or any other designated parties. Ensure that the document is easily accessible in case of urgent medical situations. Inform your loved ones about its location for quick retrieval.
Should My Estate Planning Documents Include Specific Details Regarding My Wants For Life-Sustaining Treatment, Pain Management, And Other Interventions?
Articulating your desires for life-sustaining treatment, pain management, and other interventions in your estate planning is vital. The recommended approach for this is through a living will and a healthcare power of attorney.
Commonly referred to as a “do not resuscitate” directive, a living will allows you to convey your preferences to medical professionals regarding whether you wish to be kept alive at any cost or to let go in the event of a terminal condition. A living will serves as a clear directive regarding critical end-of-life decisions.
Healthcare Power Of Attorney
This document provides more comprehensive guidance on the type of care you desire. It allows you to appoint an agent who will ensure that your wishes, as outlined in your living will and other healthcare decisions, are carried out. A healthcare power of attorney allows for a broader range of decisions, covering various aspects of care beyond resuscitation, ensuring a more detailed expression of your preferences.
With both documents in place, you can designate a trusted individual to advocate for your wishes and make decisions on your behalf.
What Is The Importance Of Choosing A Healthcare Agent? What Decisions Can A Healthcare Agent Make On Your Behalf?
Choosing a trustworthy agent to advocate for your wishes in times when you cannot do so yourself is a critical aspect of healthcare planning. You can and should communicate with doctors and make decisions when you’re able; however, situations such as being in a coma or too sick to talk require a designated agent.
Healthcare directives, such as a living will and a healthcare power of attorney, offer the means to appoint a reliable person to fulfill this role. With these documents, you appoint someone as your agent whose job it is to make sure your wishes are carried out as written in those documents.
Can I Include My Wishes For Organ Donation Preferences In My Estate Plan? What Steps Should Be Followed To Ensure My Wishes Are Carried Out?
I highly encourage including your wishes for donating organs in a healthcare power of attorney. Including your wishes for organ donation in your estate plan ensures that your intentions are known and can be followed. Your agent for that healthcare power of attorney ensures your wishes are carried out concerning organ donation.
What Steps Should Be Taken To Ensure That End-Of-Life Planning Documents Are Readily Accessible To Healthcare Providers And Family Members In The Event Of A Medical Crisis?
In the event of a medical crisis, ensuring that your end-of-life planning documents are readily accessible to healthcare providers and family members is essential. Here are steps to make this information easily available:
- Prepare Living Will & Healthcare Power Of Attorney
Clearly outline your preferences for medical decisions and designate a trusted representative to act on your behalf.
- Distribute Copies To Key People
Provide copies of your documents to your primary doctor and the hospital you may be going to. Hospitals can upload this information to their medical cloud system, making it accessible to all doctors within their network. Provide a copy of your documents to the agent you’ve appointed to carry out your wishes as well. This ensures they have immediate access to any and all necessary information.
For more information on End Of Year Estate Planning In South Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (864) 271-7940 today.