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The end of 2014 is near: Estate planning considerations

As you approach the end of the year, you are likely tempted to take stock of the year that is passing and to think ahead about the year to come. This time of transition inspires many individuals to contemplate the past 12 months and to consider the possibilities of the next 12. It is therefore not unusual that many individuals are inspired to either craft or revisit their estate planning documents at this time of year.

Estate planning documents are generally meant to be "living" documents. As the circumstances of your life and your wishes change, you can generally return to these documents and make necessary edits and additions. As you think about the whole of 2014 and prepare for 2015, you may need to craft or edit your estate plan accordingly.

Have you gotten married or divorced this past year? Have any children or grandchildren joined the ranks of your family in 2014? Have you weathered the loss of a close loved one who is named in your estate plan? Have you acquired significant assets or lost a great deal of income this past year? Answering all of these questions may help you to determine whether and how you may need to update your estate plan before the year's end.

It is also important that you check in with your estate planning attorney, as tax changes instituted within the last year may have affected your estate planning goals. Similarly, tax changes expected to take effect next year may benefit or harm your estate plan, so it may be important to be proactive about your estate planning goals now before these changes alter your protections.

Source: 9 News, "End of year estate planning tips," Ann King, Dec. 2, 2014

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