3 New Year’s Estate Planning Resolutions

2023 is upon us, and we can’t believe it, either. Whether you are someone who makes New Year’s resolutions or not, our firm humbly presents three resolutions that will help you tuck away your legacy for your heirs to enjoy. 

  1. Review your existing plan for any needed updates.

Estate plans, no matter how carefully they were originally written, are not set-it-and-forget-it arrangements. As life changes, so should your Will, trust, advance healthcare directive, powers of attorney, and other important legal documents. Circumstances that necessitate a second look at your estate plan might include: 

  • Divorce, remarriage, birth of a child or grandchild, death in the family, or any other event that adds or removes people from your familial unit. 
  • Acquisition of a significant asset such as a vehicle, boat, house, real property, certificate of deposit, bank account, or business.
  • Diagnosis, for you or anyone close to you, of a disability or serious illness.
  • Drastic change in financial situation for you or your spouse.
  • Death of someone who is currently listed to act as an executor, trustee, power-of-attorney agent, or any other estate plan helper.
  1. Create a conservatorship for any family member who needs one.

Elderly people who experience a decline in their mental faculties are often noticed by family members visiting them for the holidays. If your aging mom or dad needs some help, a California conservatorship may be appropriate for them. 

A conservatorship places a competent adult in charge of making certain decisions and performing certain actions on behalf of someone else who does not have full capacity. Someone who is incapacitated may need help paying bills or keeping up with investments. Other times, a conservator may be authorized to refuse or consent to medical treatment on behalf of the conservatee.

The responsibilities of a conservator depend on the type of conservatorship granted by the court (conservatorship of the person versus conservatorship of the estate) and the exact needs of the conservatee. A conservator could be a close family member or professional who is licensed by the state.

  1. Get your trust ready for administration.

When you pass away–hopefully not anytime soon–your successor trustee will step up to manage the assets in your trust. The act of handling the financial and legal obligations of a trust is referred to as administration of a trust. The duties of a trustee vary depending on a wide variety of factors, but there are a few things settlors can do to help successor trustees administer the trust:

  • Keep an accurate log of the trust’s assets and liabilities.
  • Reach out to financial professionals (such as an accountant) who may need to help in administering the trust.
  • Gather copies of the trust, titles of the assets, accounting sheets, tax returns, and other important documents. Keep them in a secure, yet accessible location.
  • Make sure assets you want to include in the trust are actually funded into the trust.

Let Us Help

No matter where you are in your estate planning journey, the best way to ensure your goals are met is to consult a knowledgeable California attorney. Solan, Park & Robello will work with you to make sure your plan fulfills your wishes and efficiently transfers your wealth. Let’s talk soon.

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Solan, Park & Robello

Solan, Park & Robello is a full-service probate and estate planning firm offering experienced counsel in a wide range of estate planning matters—from preparation to administration to litigation.

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