As the calendar turns to December, and before the rush of holidays kicks into high gear, now is a great time to review your estate plan and insurance coverage. Have you updated your estate plan recently? Do you even have an estate plan? When is the last time you met with your insurance agent to discuss your car and home coverage? Do you have enough life insurance? Here are five things that every family should review.
- Review your estate plan. Have you had any life changes this year? Good reasons to review and update your estate plan include marriage, a new baby, divorce, a death in the family, perhaps you bought a vacation home or condo out of state.
- Review your beneficiary designations. When is the last time you checked your beneficiary designations on your life insurance or retirement accounts? Do you have retirement benefits from an old job that you have not thought about for years?
- Talk to your insurance agent. Ignore the television commercials that brag about state minimum coverage. Make sure that your family is adequately covered if you or a family member causes a car accident. The state minimum coverage in Ohio is $25,000/50,000. With the ever-rising cost of medical care, that can go very quickly. Make sure that your liability coverage is sufficient that your personal assets will not be at risk. I always highly recommend umbrella policies as well, which provide excess coverage in case of a more serious accident. Finally, make sure that you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you are injured by a driver with either no insurance or very low limits, your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may be the only way you can be compensated for your injuries.
- Review your life insurance policies. Life insurance is particularly important for families with young children. But your need for life insurance evolves and changes over the course of your life. It is a good practice to occasionally review your coverage and make sure that you have the right amount of life insurance for your needs.
- Talk to your family. Avoid conflict and surprises when possible. Tell your family about your plans and wishes. Let your family know that you have an estate plan, where to find it, and what to do in case of an emergency. Stay organized and tell your family where they can find your important documents.
Some of these checklist items you can do on your own. For others, you may need to contact your financial advisor, CPA, or insurance agent. Please contact McCarthy Law Office to discuss your estate planning needs. I will make the process as straightforward and painless as possible. Take these steps to plan for and protect your family as 2022 turns to 2023.