The year 2010 brings with it a group of changes in planning. What have you done to take advantage of these changes? Estate planning and taxation are two of the biggest. Professionals in both areas should be consulted for your particular situation.Your estate plan should be reviewed every two to five years to determine whether it needs to be changed or updated. If any of the following events occur, you’ll probably need to update your estate plan including the associated documents, and it’s a good idea to seek counsel: divorce, marriage or remarriage, birth or adoption of a child, death of spouse or child, sale of residence or purchase of new residence, retirement and enactment of new tax laws. This list is not all encompassing, so use it as a guide.This is the year of no federal estate taxes. How can you benefit from that? I suggest you make a list of questions and concerns prior to your appointment. Examples: do I need to change a personal representative, revise a trust or a will to account for an increase in assets; review your life insurance needs, update or change a power of attorney; change or adjust your beneficiaries; after death directives. The big one that I always ask: Are your health care documents HIPPA compliant?Congress is still not finished with the end of the year passing of laws and regulations as I write this. We do know from the news that change is bound to happen! The IRS reports that one of the biggest rejection areas on annual returns is the number of exemptions claimed on the return. Please see additional information at www.IRS.gov on how to claim the correct number of exemptions.What goals and financial plans have you set for yourself and your family? During these uncertain economic times, financial planning has become a challenge. Here are a few financial planning suggestions that can add to your peace of mind about financial matters; simplifying your life will help focus your efforts.
- At least once a year, write down your investment goals and what strategy you will use to reach them. Instead of giving money to many different charities, pick a few that are important to you and give them a larger amount. This type of directed giving not only makes more sense but will make it easier to track your donations at tax time.
- Use one insurance agent and one financial adviser for your transactions.
- If you have doubts about entering into a transaction, don’t do it. You will probably save yourself money, time and aggravation.
- Pay down debt, smallest amount first. Success with this one will want you to do it again and again.