How can you protect your finances this year?
Start with reviewing the following documents at least once this year.
1. Estate Planning Documents
To help ensure that your property and money ends up where you want it, look over your will, trusts, and other estate planning documents at least once a year to see if there is anything you’d like changed.
For example, you may want to make a change if you’re recently married or divorced, added a new child to the family, received an inheritance, or experienced any number of other major life events. Or you may simply want to make a change because you’ve changed your mind about some part of your estate plan. Review your choices for who would manage your finances and health care if you ever become incapacitated. Are you still satisfied with your choices?
We can update your documents for you, as well as review them to see if adjustments are needed due to any changes in the tax laws. How much does an estate plan cost?
2. Life Insurance Policies
Things can change quickly in life, and the life insurance coverage that was sufficient to protect your family five or ten years ago may not be enough in your current financial situation. To help ensure that your life insurance coverage keeps pace with changes in your life (marriages, new children, new home, new business, pay increases, etc.), it’s a good idea to review your coverage at least once a year.
3. Beneficiary Designations
You should review your beneficiary designations annually and when major life events (marriages, births, deaths, etc.) occur. Regardless of the instructions in your will, the beneficiaries you put down on your forms will generally inherit those assets. Assets that you may have named a beneficiary for include checking and savings accounts, annuities, medical and health savings accounts and life insurance policies.
4. Credit Reports
Not checking your credit report regularly may cost you. Errors that creep into your credit report and that are not caught may result in you being denied credit or paying higher interest rates than necessary or new credit cards or loans. It could also keep you from you from getting a new job, and cost you more for your car insurance.
Check your credit reports for errors at least once a year and before applying for a new loan or job. And while you are looking for errors, also look for signs of potential fraud such as accounts you did not open. You are entitled to a free credit report once every twelve months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can order your free reports online at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
5. Social Security Statement
Even if you are a long time away from retirement, review your Social Security Statement annually. Make sure that your earnings for the prior year have been accurately recorded. That is because your earnings record determines the amount of your monthly Social Security benefit in retirement. If there are any earnings missing from your record, you may receive lower benefits in retirement than you deserve. Review your statement online at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
Do you want more smart ideas for your finances? Check out this article on bright ideas for your money.
This article is a service of the Law Firm of Myrna Serrano Setty, P.A. We don’t just draft documents. We help you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Planning Session. Call our office today to schedule a Planning Session. Mention this article to learn how to get this $500 session at no charge.