Estate planning reviews for the new year

Many people like to spend time during the first month of the year reflecting on what is most important to them. Fresh out of the holiday season, some Lake Charles residents might realize that they need to spend more time with their family or focus on organization. This period of reflection is an excellent time to revisit estate planning.

A thorough review of a will and all of the estate holder's assets is a good place to start. Not only do people need to check that they still own all of the assets listed and that newly acquired property is also included, but they need to make sure that the details are right. Things like beneficiary designations are important to get right to avoid any confusion for family members later on.

It is also a good time to review all powers of attorney. While a durable power of attorney can be used in many different situations, in terms of estate planning they are commonly used to plan for medical incapacitation. A medical power of attorney gives someone the ability to make medical decisions on another's behalf in specified circumstances, while a financial power of attorney allows an individual to manage money in designated situations. Both of these documents are crucial should the maker subsequently become incapacitated. Not only should these be updated to reflect the best possible candidate for each role, but they should be stored in a manner that is easily accessible in case of an emergency.

Estate planning might seem simple enough, but depending on a person's assets and wishes things can get complicated fairly quickly. An annual review could include things like wills, living wills, powers of attorney, trusts and more. Those in Lake Charles who feel understandably overwhelmed by this process might consider speaking with an experienced attorney before beginning their annual review.

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