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LOCATION, LOCATION: Probably the most important item regarding your estate and financial planning documents? Telling your family and loved ones where to find those documents!

End-of-year checklist for your important paperwork

Farm & Family: Locate, review, update your estate and financial plans before year’s end.

The end of year is a good time to check up on your estate and financial plans.

Here are some items to review and update if needed:

Get your paperwork in order. To administer your plan, they will need to locate paperwork for your power of attorney, health care directive, will, trust, life insurance policies, financial account statements and funeral arrangements.

Tell your family and loves ones where to find your important estate and financial planning documents.

Review your estate plan documents. Make sure the correct people are listed as your health care agent(s), agent(s) for financial powers of attorney, trustee and personal representative.

Check the distribution clauses in your trust or will to make sure those are still as you intend. If you find changes are needed schedule a meeting with your estate planning attorney to draft those revisions.

Update your adviser contact list. The following are some of the people who should be contacted in the event your plan needs to be administered: health care agent(s), agent(s) for financial powers of attorney, financial adviser, insurance agent, tax preparer and estate planning attorney.

Meet with your CPA or accountant for a 2019 income tax analysis.

Complete your 2019 annual gifts. Gifting is often an integral part of an estate plan. In 2019, each person is able to gift $15,000 to another individual without gift and estate tax consequences. A married couple is able to gift $30,000 to an individual. Completing these gifts each year may help in saving federal and state estate taxes.

Contribute funds into your Health Savings Account Adding funds into your account can help maximize its income tax advantages.

The max contributions for 2019 are $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for a family.

For those with Flexible Spending Accounts, check with your account administrator to determine if you need to spend down your account on qualified expenses before year end.

Take your required minimum distributions before Dec. 31. If you are 70 1/2 or older, you are required to take minimum distributions from you retirement accounts. If you turned 70 1/2 in 2019, you have until April 1 to take your first minimum distribution. However, if you wait till 2020 to take your first distribution, you will need to take two distributions in 2020.

Start collecting your tax records to prepare your 2019 tax filings.

Have a wonderful holiday season! Looking forward to a great New Year!

Please feel free to email your questions and comments to Miller Legal at

Balzarini is an attorney at law for Miller Legal Strategic Planning Centers, P.A

TAGS: Farm Life
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