The end of the year is almost here. In the midst of all the celebrations, travel and chaos with the kids out of school, there may feel as if there is very little time to get anything done for yourself. Despite this overall sense of overwhelm, you do need to think about you and your needs as the year comes to an end.
One of the most frequent questions we hear from our clients focuses on what they should talk to their advisors in California about. We encourage everyone to have a circle of advisors in California – your “Power Team.” These are professionals who understand your needs, goals and are there to help you through life’s challenges. Some of you may already have such a team assembled, while others can make it a goal in 2018 to do so. If you would like a referral , please do not hesitate to ask. We’d be happy to introduce you to our network of great advisors.
When meeting with your advisors, make it a productive meeting and have your questions written down and ready to ask. You are welcome to use our checklist as a guide:
Top Ten Advisor Conversations to Have Now:
Accountant / CPA
1) How will Congress’ proposed new tax law affect you? What do you need to do to prepare for tax season? Are there any forms to fill out in advance? Are there new deductions you should be aware of so that you can take advantage of them?
2) Are there tax advantages you could be taking advantage of through different retirement saving accounts? What about planning for children’s colleges? Are there deductions for helping care for an aging parent?
3) Is your business formed the right way for what you need right now? Different formations have different benefits. Should your business stay the way it is or do you need to make changes in the New Year?
Estate Planning Attorney
4) Are there new laws that could impact your business? Is your business set up the right way? Are you keeping track of corporate minutes and filing annual reports as you should? How could you improve?
5) Does your estate planning reflect what you need right now? Have things in your life taken place or changed that make your planning less relevant? Has it been over three years since you executed your documents? Is it time for an update? Does your attorney have a maintenance program to ensure your plan will work when you need it to?
6) Is your attorney accessible and on-call in an emergency? Do you have a relationship with your attorney so you could call him or her during a crisis and get through? Is this something you want or need to do for next year that requires legal assistance?
7) How often should you plan on seeing your doctor next year? This excludes emergency trips when you are sick but what should you be planning for with regard to well or preventative visits?
8) Do all of your doctors continue to be covered by your network? What about your prescriptions? Have any significant changes occurred in your health care? If they impact your planning, are you meeting with your team now?
9) How should you be investing to make sure you are prepared for retirement? What should you change or amend to ensure your goals will be met?
10) What updates have taken place this year that could make your planning irrelevant? Are there risks you should be aware of? What changes does he or she recommend?
While this list may seem overwhelming at first, pick out a couple of questions to take on. For example, you could start by talking to your accountant about the new proposed tax laws or your estate planning attorney about being on call for emergencies and if they have a maintenance program. If you need help on where to start or answering these questions, don’t wait to let us know.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He’s all about family and has a passion for educating his community about estate planning, veterans issues, and how to protect what matters most.