Year End Review: Topics to Discuss with Your Financial Advisor
Meeting with your financial advisor should be on your December “to-do” list. The end of 2015 is fast approaching, and with it the final days to review your current finances and make plans to start 2016 on the right foot.
Changes to your financial status or objectives
Have your circumstances changed since the last time you met with your financial advisor? Events like getting married, having a baby, paying for an emergency medical event, or having an adult child move back home might call for adjustments to your plan. Be sure to let your advisor know about these events that may change your long or short term goals.
This time of year brings a focus on giving. Even through tough economic times, people help those in need. Making a donation not only makes you feel good but doing so to a qualified charitable organization allows taxpayers who itemize reduce their taxable income for federal tax purposes. Talk to your advisor about donating before Dec. 31st in order to qualify for a 2015 deduction.
Will and beneficiary updates
One of the most important documents to look through and update on a regular basis is your will. In many situations, only your personal property, such as a car, jewelry or collectables will pass through your will. Assets that are titled in your name only also pass through your will. If a party to a will dies or gets a divorce, you may need to update the names on real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, and assets with beneficiary forms, such as retirement accounts, life insurance and annuities. Left outdated, your will many not take care of how these assets transfer after your death.
Beneficiary forms are among the most important documents in estate planning. Help your heirs avoid being part of an estate transfer horror story by keeping beneficiary documentation current. When it comes time to transfer your assets to heirs, the beneficiary document is what determines how assets will be distributed, regardless of what the will actually states. Especially common is the instance wherein a person who has married for the second time fails to update their beneficiary statements to reflect the current spouse. In most instances, assets will be passed onto the ex-spouse per the existing beneficiary document. Year end is the perfect time to make sure your beneficiary documents are up to date.
Strategies for success in 2016
Commit to making 2016 a prosperous year by discussing these and other important topics during a year end planning session with your financial advisor. Doing so while it’s still 2015 gives you maximum flexibility in preparing for 2016.
Have You Read...
Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford.
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