Finances should be prioritized at the end of the year.
Money is an important part of life.
How you handle your finances can have a lasting impact.
Consequently, you do not want to look back on 2019 and wish you had done things differently.
According to a recent The Daily Journal article titled “5 financial tasks you should tackle by year-end,” there is still time to take care of your finances before the new year.
What are they?
Check your beneficiary and pay-on-death designations.
People come and go from our lives.
This could be from divorce or death.
Either way, your original beneficiary or pay-on-death designations may no longer be ideal or viable.
What should you do?
Review all of your accounts and make sure your beneficiary designations are updated.
If you ignore this, your ex could end up with the death benefits.
How do you go about doing this?
Start by making list of all of your accounts.
Next contact the custodians for the accounts to change the designations.
Be sure the updates are confirmed to protect the financial inheritance.
Beneficiary designations trump instructions in a will so this is important to get right the first time … and get confirmation.
Some states, like Kansas and Missouri, allow for real estate and vehicle titles to have transfer-on-death deeds.
These often require you to submit a new deed to the county recorder.
Discuss your goals and circumstances with an experienced estate planing attorney before changing deeds to ensure it is best for you.
Update Insurance Policies.
Claims must be filed to an insurance policy before a beneficiary can be paid.
Be sure your loved ones are aware of the policy and who to contact should you pass away.
Make sure your contact information is current, your bills are paid, and your beneficiaries are correct to protect your family’s financial security.
Check your safe deposit box.
How long has it been since you checked your safe deposit box?
If it has been awhile, schedule a time to look and see what is in it.
Better yet, inventory the contents while you are at it.
Be sure to make your payments.
If you do not, you could forfeit the contents.
When you die, your executor will need to access the box when settling the estate.
Prepare powers of attorney.
If you are incapacitated, you will want someone to manage your finances and pay bills.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to name an individual as you attorney in fact (i.e., agent) under your general durable power of attorney.
If you already have a general durable power of attorney, be sure to update it should circumstances change.
If you do not have a backup attorney in fact named, it would be wise to do so.
Taking these precautionary steps now will help you to enjoy the holidays with the financial peace of mind.
Reference: The Daily Journal (Nov. 18, 2019) “5 financial tasks you should tackle by year-end”