Estate Planning Checklist for January

If you’ve already met with your estate planning attorney this year to put together your will, trust, powers of attorney, and other long-term plans, then congratulations! You’ve taken a really important step toward being prepared for the future and making things easier for your family and friends should you pass away or become unable to make decisions for yourself. However, as important as it was to create an estate plan in the first place, doing so was only just the beginning. That’s because you’ll need to take active steps to ensure your plan stays up to date as your life and the law changes through the years. January is a great time to take care of this and mark it off your annual list of “to-do’s”.



Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm. Register via this link or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.

Castle Wealth Group and Christopher Berry help families with estate planning, elder law, retirement planning, and tax planning from their offices in Brighton, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Novi.

Castle Wealth Group helps families with their legal, financial, and tax planning for their retirement and legacy.

With the use of legal structures like revocable living trusts, Castle Trusts (asset protection trusts), Chris Berry and Castle Wealth Group can help your family plan, protect, and preserve what is important through their Retirement and Legacy Blueprint Process.



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Let’s go over some important things to look for and the most common life changes that may warrant a need to update your plan:

1. You experienced a change in marital status

If you were married, divorced, or widowed in the previous year, then you will need to update your estate plan to reflect this.

For example, it may be necessary to change beneficiaries. Most people who go through a divorce will want to change their wills, trusts, and other important documents to remove the former spouse’s name.

In the case of a new marriage, your new spouse will likely be added.

Or, if you have been widowed, this may change how your inheritance will be dispersed.

Your estate planning attorney can help you determine what changes need to be made and help you create a solid plan for the future.


2. You became a parent

Whether you gave birth to a child, adopted, or became a step-parent in the last year, it makes sense to change your estate plan to reflect this change.

You may want to change the beneficiaries listed on insurance policies and
bank accounts, as well as name guardians and possibly set up trusts to care for your child’s future should you be unable to do so personally.

Again, your attorney can help make sure this is taken care of and that your wishes for your children are known.


3. You changed jobs or retired

Your retirement plans and 401Ks may be affected by your change in employment status.

Your attorney can offer you advice on whether to roll over an existing plan or to start a new one, as well as how to deal with dispersal if it is time for you to start drawing on your retirement or pension plan.


4. You have sold or purchased property
There are specific laws that pertain to the inheritance of property, as well as the taxes involved.

Adding or removing the property from your existing estate plan can help to avoid unnecessary taxes and to protect your heirs’ interests in the property.

Again, these are just a few life changes that can necessitate a change to your estate plan. By working with a qualified attorney, you can help clarify what needs to be done to update your documents and keep yourself on track with your estate planning goals.

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About Castle Wealth Group

Contact Castle Wealth Group for all your estate planning needs. We build a perfect strategy for your retirement, including income planning, investment planning, tax planning, health care planning, and legacy planning. Visit our website or call us at 844.885.4200 or email us for your financial advice.


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Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm to register or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.


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