Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Getting Yourself In Order Step 8: Review, Review, Review

In our series on how to get yourself in order, we are at the last step. Step 8 is Review, review and review. Why do we review? Well more on that below, but first, let's review the first seven steps to getting yourself in order.

1. Protect your house. This means getting the right homeowner's insurance and liability coverages in place.

2. Protect your car. This means getting the right car insurance, including liability coverage in place.

3. Provide for decision makers in the event of your disability. This means getting Durable Powers of Attorney with HIPAA provisions in place.

4. Create your dispositive document. This means do having a Will or revocable trust and working with an attorney who specializes in estate planning.

5. Synchronize your beneficiary designations on your insurance, IRA and 401(k) with your estate plan.

6. Beware of Uncle Sam in your planning. This means to consider the tax implications of what you do in your plan so as not to create any hidden tax traps.

7. Choose the right advisors. This one speaks for itself.

If you read the articles below you will find that each of these steps is discussed in detail.

Now what about reviews? Getting yourself in order is not something that you do just one time and forget about. It is an ongoing process. It's organic and that means that it is always subject to change. Changes like these:

1. Change in yourself. Your thinking and circumstances change from time to time and what you did a couple of years ago may not be how you decide today.

2. Change in your family structure. Marriage, babies, divorce, illness and death can create change in your family structure requiring a change in your planning.

3. Change in the laws. 2010 is a great example. Estate plans created with tax planning before 2010 were made obsolete by the 2010 estate tax law changes. Do you know how these changes in the law affect you? The only way is to do periodic reviews of your plans and arrangements.

That's why we recommend to all of our clients to have a review meeting with us at least once every two years. This permits us to review current situations in light of an older plan. By reviewing, we can synchronize your current situation and goals with your plan documents.

This concludes our series on Getting Yourself In Order. We hope you enjoyed the series and found it useful and informational. If you have any questions about any of the eight steps, feel free to email or call me anytime.

Bernie Greenberg

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