End of the Year Estate Planning Checklist


As 2014 draws to a close, there are several things to consider in regards to your estate planning needs. Here's a handy checklist:

  • Update your current will and trust to reflect any changes in your life, such as births, deaths, divorces, or moves to a different state.
  • Review your living will and power of attorney documents to make sure they still reflect your current wishes.
  • If you are the parent of minor children, determine if you wish to make any changes to your guardianship designations.
  • Update personal property records to reflect acquisitions of valuable jewelry, antiques, fine art, or collectibles.
  • Make year-end gifts to heirs up to the annual exclusion limits of $14,000 for singles or $28,000 for married couples.
  • If you need to establish 529 plan accounts for children and grandchildren, consider front-loading the accounts with five years worth of annual exclusion gift amounts.
  • Pay a child or grandchild's tuition or medical expenses directly to the school or medical provider. (Payments made directly to schools or medical providers are not subject to gift taxes, regardless of the amounts.)
  • Make charitable gifts to organizations you would like to support so you are able to use the deduction on your 2014 income tax return. (Keep in mind that donations of physical objects such as fine art or antiques must be received by the organization by December 31 to qualify for the deduction.)
  • Make any desired end of the year IRA contributions.
  • Determine if year-end distributions from non-grantor trusts are suitable for tax planning purchases.
  • Update the appropriate parties regarding the location of your important estate planning documents and any major changes that have been made to these documents.

How Can We Help?

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you evaluate your options and create an estate plan that best addresses your unique needs. If you are in need of legal representation relating to an estate planning issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com.