The Top 5 estate planning actions to take before 2015

Local attorney Brooke Borg offers tips for keeping estate plan up-to-date, in order

LAS VEGAS – Estate planning is something people tend to think they’ll do “one day.” Whether it’s spurned by fear of death, financial reasons or sheer cavalierism, that day often never comes, which can result in numerous problems for those left behind.

But even those who have an estate plan in place aren’t completely out of the woods. There are yearly actions that people can take to significantly cut down on confusion and hassle for their beneficiaries, should they die.

Therefore, Brooke Borg, attorney and founder for Borg Law Group, provided the following Top 5 actions to take regarding estate plans before the year ends.

THE TOP 5 ACTIONS TO TAKE REGARDING YOUR ESTATE PLAN BEFORE 2015:          

1. Locate your estate planning documents – Most clients don’t even know where their estate planning documents are kept. It is wise to keep them in a location in which it is easy for loved ones to find if something happens to you and/or your spouse. A locked safe is not always a good location. If it is a safe that can easily be picked up and removed from the home, it’s an easy target for thieves who may think something valuable is inside. If you keep your documents in a safe deposit box, make sure someone else’s name is on that box so they can retrieve your documents on your behalf.

2. Review your documents or have them reviewed by an estate planning attorney – Circumstances change over time. If you haven’t reviewed your documents in over a year, it’s time to get them out and have them reviewed. You may have named an executor who is now deceased or has moved and you need to either replace that person or change an address. You may have assets you have purchased since you originally had your documents prepared and now you need to add those assets to your trust. If you fail to regularly review your plan, your intention of avoiding probate when you pass away may not be a reality.

3. Update beneficiaries on your retirement plans/IRAs/401K– Although these assets will automatically transfer to the named beneficiaries upon your death and avoid any court involvement, ensure that your named beneficiaries have not predeceased you and, furthermore, that you haven’t named an ex-spouse. This occurs more than you realize, and the company that holds the asset is required to pay out to the named beneficiary (regardless of the relationship to you) upon your death.

4. Keep a written record of your electronic passwords – This is an item that is often overlooked by clients. We live in an “online” world and do most banking, trading and investing online. Do you have a written record of your online passwords available to your executor/trustee, so that he/she can easily access accounts and continue bill payments and other actions if need be after your death?

5. Consider an annual gift – Consult your estate planning attorney and/or CPA to ensure you have effectively completed your allotted annual gifting. Currently, an individual can gift up to $14,000 to as many individuals as he/she desires per year without a gift tax applying to such transfers. This can help spend down your estate if it is an amount you’re concerned may be subjected to an estate tax when you pass away. It’s a good way to gift without having to pay a gift tax on those amounts.

No matter what is decided, make sure your loved ones know your intentions and, especially, where to find your documents and who to contact (i.e. attorney, CPA, investment advisor) upon your demise. This will make the management and distribution of your property much easier.

Borg Law Group provides legal services to individuals and businesses in the areas of real estate, corporate law, estate planning and probate. The firm’s founder, Brooke Borg, is admitted to the State Bar of Nevada and the State Bar of Michigan.

For more information regarding Borg Law Group call 702-318-8808 or visit BorgLawGroup.com.

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