The beginning of a new year offers the opportunity for a fresh start in many areas of a person's life. One thing a Tennessee adult may consider is using the beginning of each year as a chance to update important documents and make sure legal and financial affairs are in order. This may include estate planning steps, whether it's updating an existing plan or drafting a will and other documents.

One thing that may prove useful is to look carefully at existing beneficiary designations, specifically on life insurance policies, IRAs, pension accounts and more. Even if a will specifies an heir, it significantly reduces complications when beneficiary designations on important accounts line up. Similarly, it can be prudent to look at how any valuable property is titled and how that could potentially impact taxes and other matters long-term.

A person may have an updated will and other estate planning documents in place, but it may still be helpful to discuss plans and preferences with a trustee or the executor of the will. This can reduce complications when it is time to settle the estate. It also makes it less likely that there will be confusion if there are disputes over the terms of the will.

Estate planning involves having a thoughtful, comprehensive will, but it also includes a lot more. A Tennessee adult may want to look over his or her plans to see what may be lacking or what is necessary to protect the interests of heirs and beneficiaries. A careful review of plans, finances and individual objectives can reveal what updates or steps are prudent. 

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