End-Of-Year Checklist For Getting Your Legal Affairs In Order

1) If your spouse died this year or you got divorced, you should update your estate planning documents in order to remove your former spouse's name as a beneficiary, agent, executor, and trustee.  

2) December is the most popular month to get engaged.  We encourage all of our clients who are getting married or re-married to consult with an estate planning attorney and make an informed decision about getting a Premarital Agreement (Prenup).  The motivation for obtaining a Prenup is not because the marriage may not last. Without a Prenup, the inheritance that you intended to leave to your heirs could instead go to your new spouse upon your death.  You probably don't want to disinherit your children.  

3) If anyone who is listed in your Health Care Power of Attorney or Living Will has moved or changed phone numbers, you should update these forms with current information so that your health care providers can connect with your contacts in case of an emergency.  (We have complimentary blank forms at our office that we will give you for this purpose, but remember that you will need to get them witnessed and notarized.) 

4) Review your will and trust to make sure that they still reflect your current wishes about whom will serve as your executor or trustee and how your assets will be distributed after your death.  Because people die, babies are born, and relationships change, you should annually review your documents.

As always, if any of your estate planning documents are more than ten years old or you have moved to a different state, you should have your documents reviewed and updated to ensure that your estate plan still reflects your wishes and the current laws where you reside.