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Financial adviser: It is time to review your estate plan

Time has flown. The end of 2016 is in sight, which means the moment to make year-end changes to your finances and estate plan has arrived.

A recent California media report says that items to examine before the ball drops on December 31 include retirement plans, insurance, investments and more.

A financial planner compiled a checklist for a northern California newspaper. Her list contains things you can do before 2016 comes to an end, including:

  • A review of your retirement plan contributions: maximize your contributions (and your employer's contributions) to your 401(k), IRA, SEP or other plans.
  • Look over your insurance coverage so that you can make any needed changes to homeowners or auto coverage.
  • Charitable giving: don't wait until the last day of the year to decide which organization is to benefit from your generosity.
  • An end-of-year review of your investment portfolio might well enable you to minimize your tax liabilities in 2017. One of the assessments needed is whether or not you need to rebalance investments. Sometimes people make their portfolios equities-heavy. Also, beware generating for yourself capital gains taxes. If adjustments need to be made in your portfolio, one way to rebalance is to make new deposits or contributions to undernourished assets.
  • Estate planning: this is especially crucial to review if there have been significant changes in your life (birth, marriage, divorce, separation). Also, sit down with your estate planning attorney if you have had a "significant change in income or wealth of either the testator or a beneficiary," the financial planner writes.

Note: if you have never created an estate plan, you still have time in 2016 to craft a considered arrangement with an experienced attorney that will benefit you and your family.



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