It is hard to believe that 2013 is finally at an end.
With the endless list of to-dos, gift-buying, recipe-planning, decorating, and kids and families ready for the holidays, here atAxiswe wanted to give you a list the things you should try to make time for, no matter how busy things get.
The end of the year is a great time to take a yearly look at financial, legal, and other important matters, before the start of the new year.
We hope you find this list useful, and wish you and yours a very happy holidays.
No. 1: Check Your Will, Trust, and Estate Planning Documents.
Have you opened or closed any bank accounts? Purchased / sold homes, cars, boats, jewelry, artwork, or any other sizeable assets? Do you have elderly family members who have maybe never thought about estate-planning? Do you have new children/grandchildren or children/grandchildren that are now older? The end of the year is the perfect time to get one’s personal estate planning documents in order. Estate planning documents can also include health directives or a “living will” to help loved ones make healthcare decisions if the time becomes necessary. Axisoffers a variety of affordable options to provide security and certainty to you and your family’s estate planning needs.
No. 2: Check your Auto Insurance Coverage.
Are you sure you have the right kind of auto insurance coverage? The most common reason that victims of auto accidents accumulate unpaid medical bills is by having insufficient Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists’ coverage (UIM/UM). UIM/UM coverage protects you and other drivers on your policy when a negligent driver is uninsured or has the “bare minimum” insurance required by California law. Adding UIM/UM coverage usually only adds minimal amounts to your monthly auto insurance premium, but can be a lifesaver in the event of a catastrophe. If you have questions about whether you have the right kind of coverage, please give us a call or drop us an email. Axisoffers free/complimentary insurance policy limit reviews for all clients.
No. 3: Check whether You Would Get Better Insurance through Obamacare.
The deadline to enroll with Covered California is only days away. If you have not done so already, check the state’s official website to see if you or an uninsured loved one would qualify for premium assistance or better health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) than you may already have through your employer-provided insurance. Individuals making up to $45,960 are entitled to premium assistance (up to $62,040 for a family of 2; up to $78,120 for a family of 3; up to $94,200 for a family of 4; up to $110,280 for a family of 5; and up to $126,360 for a family of 6). Learn more about Covered California here. For coverage starting January 1, 2014, you must enroll by December 23, 2013.
No. 4: Invest in Online Back-up Software for your Important Computer Files.
Ever thought about how you would rescue your important computer files, emails, photos, music, videos, and other documents in the event of a catastrophe, earthquake, fire, or other disaster? Many online providers are offering deeply discounted rates for online “cloud-based” back-up services. A few of the most popular providers are JustCloud.com, which offers services starting at $4 to $5 per month, or DropBox.com, which offers a free 2 GB of services with other plans offering more storage space starting at $9.99 per month. With “cloud-based” back-up services, you can set up scheduled backups of all or a few of your computer files, and access them from any computer.
No. 5: Make any Last-Minute Charitable Donations.
To be able to include your charitable donations as ordinary deductions on your tax returns, make sure you turn in your donated goods before December 31, 2013. Services such as ItsDeductible.com can help determine the fair market value of your donations and keep track of your donated items.
No. 6: Download a Copy of your Bank Account Transactions.
Another good practice is to download or print-out a full copy of your bank account transactions at the end of each year. Bank orcredit card companies may allow you to download or make copies of a few months’ statements, but usually do not make these records readily available to you as time goes on – after several months go by, they usually charge you to provide you with copies. Keeping a record of your yearly transactions could come in useful with tax matters, applying to loans (or receiving financial aid, if you have a student in the house), business purposes, or any number of other reasons.
No. 7: Get Last-Minute Health/Dental Check-Ups.
If you have an Flexible Savings Account or other health plan that operates annually with “use it or lose it” benefits, be sure to book a last-minute dental or health exam. Not sure how to locate a decent doctor? Healthgrades.com, Avvo.com, and WebMd.com can you search to find the right physician. To tips on how to evaluate and find the right physician, check out Axis’s Guide to Finding a Doctor.
No. 8: Check the Home Address your Employer Has On File for Sending You Tax Documents.
By January, 2013, employers are required to send employees W-2 or 1099 forms for labor performed for the employer. If you have moved in 2013, take a moment to make sure your employer has your most current address on file; otherwise, your tax forms could be misdirected, lost, or delayed – slowing down the preparation of your tax returns.
Axis wishes all of its Clients and their families and children the happiest of holidays!