Estate Planning Questions to Ask Over the Holidays

The holidays are the perfect time to talk with your family about plans for the future.


As 2020 comes to a close and relatives are likely to gather together, we recommend asking yourself these three questions to make sure your estate plan is properly updated and prevent disputes from arising down the road.



Who Have You Designated to Handle Your Medical Decisions?

If you were to become incapacitated, your Healthcare Power of Attorney would designate someone to make all final decisions about medical treatment. That being said, an Advance Healthcare Directive, also known as a living will, honors the wishes you noted ahead of time regarding your preferred treatment and medical plan.


These documents are beneficial because you’re able to designate someone you trust to make sure your medical wishes are carried out when you are no longer able to communicate them yourself. If you realize over the holidays that the person you originally designated to oversee these matters is either no longer capable to fulfill this responsibility or the relationship has become strained, you should update this designation as soon as possible.


Is Your Will Up-to-Date?

To put it simply, a will spells out what should happen to your cash, assets, and property when you pass away. 


If you do not have a will in place, or it has not been properly updated, untitled assets would pass down according to state law. This leaves the possibility that members of your family who were not included in your outdated will (new children/grandchildren, new romantic partners or spouses, stepchildren, in-laws, etc) would receive nothing. It’s best to have a specific plan in place for your assets to ensure they are divided up fairly upon your death to prevent nasty disputes among your heirs/beneficiaries in the future.


One of the most important things a will does is name a guardian and/or conservator for your minor children! Just like assets, the guardianship/conservatorship of your children would fall to the state law to decide your children’s best interests if you have not determined this in your will.


Have You Designated Beneficiaries on Your Accounts and Insurance Policies?

Some accounts have automatic beneficiary designations regardless of what your will says! This includes IRAs, 401(k)s, investment accounts, pensions, and life insurance policies. All of these accounts will pass directly to the beneficiaries you have named on the accounts respectively.


It’s imperative that you keep up with these designations just as you do with those in your will.


If you have any questions about updating these documents/accounts, contact us today!


Estate Planning with Lefkoff-Duncan

If the holiday season has you ready to update or create an estate plan, Lefkoff-Duncan is here to help. Our experienced team will assist you in all of your estate planning endeavors so that you’ll never again need to wonder if you’ve done enough to take care of the ones you love.