Revisit your estate plan
You may think you're prepared, but dividing up your assets upon your death is only the first step in protecting yourself and your family.
By Ellen McGirt, Fortune senior writer

(Fortune Magazine) -- Most people need some sort of will; everyone needs a living will and health-care power of attorney, which direct caregivers should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Working through those issues can be difficult, but having your estate paperwork based on outdated thinking can be disastrous.

"So much can happen in a year," says David Finkle, co- author of "Putting Things in Order." "You want to make sure that your wishes are still reflected in the documents you've created."


Review your will and add any new property, and check that your giving plan remains workable. Very important: Make sure that your guardianship plan for your kids still makes sense. And do a gut check. Have your feelings about your own end-of-life care changed? Is the advocate you've designated in your health-care power of attorney still the correct choice?

"Share any important new thoughts with your loved ones," suggests Finkle. You can also visit, an excellent online resource for all aspects of estate planning that offers free advice and sells helpful books and software.

Next steps:

3. Sock it away

4. Give smarter

5. Review your health plan

6. Clean up your taxable account

7. Do a property insurance checkup

8. Check the new credits and taxes

Previous steps:

1. Rebalance your 401(k)

2. Revisit your estate plan


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