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New year may be perfect time to revisit estate planning

During the holiday season, people spend much time and effort on finding the perfect gifts for friends and family. It's also a good time to ensure that one's estate planning documents are current and reflect one's final wishes. Arizona residents who have documents in place may benefit from revisiting those plans to check that they still provide for their intended heirs.

With the coming changes in the 2019 tax laws, it may be prudent to review how estate plans are structured in order to preserve as many assets as possible from potential liabilities. The use of wills and trusts can ensure that heirs are provided for while reducing the risks of a lengthy and costly probate process. Once a will or trust has been established, it is important to review them periodically to ensure that they are current and reflect any changes that have occurred in one's personal or financial circumstances.

If one has life insurance policies, it is suggested that these policies are also reviewed on a regular basis to ensure accuracy and that they provide adequate coverage. If one has ownership in a company, it is recommended that there is a clear succession plan in place in order to ensure that the business can continue for one's heirs. In addition, donations to charitable organizations can be restructured to take advantage of revised tax codes.

Along with these steps, it is recommended that one has in place both a durable power of attorney to handle financial matters in the event one becomes incapacitated as well as a power of attorney over health care matters. Though having estate plans in place is a good start, reviewing these documents on a regular basis provides peace of mind that heirs and charitable organizations will be provided for in the manner one intended. Arizona residents who need guidance in estate planning matters may wish to consult with an experienced attorney.

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