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Are you enjoying the holidays this year with family, friends and neighbors?  As the year 2022 comes to an end, are you thinking about your plans for the new year? Are you making sure that you accomplished all that you wanted to during the past year?  Amidst all the busyness of the holidays and the end of the year, have you been able to focus on what truly matters, being sure that your estate plan reflects what you want it to? Do you need an end of the year estate planning checklist to review? We have one to share with you.

Before we share, we want you to know that we have many clients and advisors we work with in our local community who often ask us what they should be looking for when it comes to their estate planning? As experienced Florida estate planning attorneys we have the knowledge to enable our clients to reach their estate planning goals. Each day, we meet with clients and their loved ones to discuss just what is needed to ensure that they are personally protected, as well as their businesses, their family, and the legacy they want to leave behind. 

The following is the estate planning checklist we would like to share with you. Use it now, or any time throughout the year, to make sure that your estate plan reflects your goals for both the present and the future.

1. Accuracy of Your Estate Plan.  The accuracy of your estate plan is extremely important. Once you complete your estate plan you cannot just put it away and never look at it again. We recommend reviewing it at least every one or two years. In fact, do you know when you last updated your estate plan?  Be aware that simple things, like name and address changes, can cause problems when they are not updated to reflect life changes. If you have not updated your estate plan recently with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, or checked in to make sure it reflects what you actually want, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

2. Do Your Healthcare Documents Need Changes?  Good health is a gift and should never be taken for granted!  Equally important are your healthcare decision-making documents. When you meet with your Florida estate planning attorney she will review them and make sure you have the right person appointed to have legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you in a crisis.

3. Review Retirement Goals and Planning. As you worked with your Florida estate planning attorney, did you create your estate plan with the goal of being prepared for retirement? Do you have goals for your retirement and does your estate plan follow your goals? Be sure to ask your Florida estate planning attorney for guidance on how to get where you want to go, not just financially, but with an eye on the legacy that you want to create?

4. Long-Term Care Considerations Are Vital. In fact, long-term care planning is an important second component of estate planning.  Many seniors are living into their nineties and beyond. What would happen if, in the future, you might need significant long-term care in a nursing home or at home with a caregiver? Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for most types of long-term care. Therefore you need to consider your long-term care needs and how the financial drain on your resources could impact your estate-planning. Again, we recommend you schedule a meeting with your Florida estate planning attorney to discuss how potential long-term care complications could impact how you reach your estate planning goals.

5. Want to Avoid Probate? Your Florida estate planning attorney can help you create an estate plan in such a way as to help you avoid the Florida probate process. We have found that while most estate plans can help you avoid probate, very few of them that we review discuss how to protect beneficiaries going forward. Do you have an estate plan that will be able to not only leave a legacy but also ensure that future generations will be protected? If not, this is a topic that should be at the top of your estate planning checklist.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. At Britton G. Swank, P.A., our mission is to guide you in the right direction to help you provide for yourself and your loved ones no matter what the future holds. We want to help you control the assets you have, leave them to people and causes you care about, when you want, in the way you want. We can help you take care of yourself and those you love in the event of disability due to illness, injury or old age. No matter what risks unfold, we can help give you the comfort of knowing you are prepared. We want you to feel good about your future and the future of your loved ones.  We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.