One of the classic holiday songs “12 Days of Christmas” states “my true love gave to me …” We all know the following verses “a partridge in a pear tree … two turtle doves … three French hens …” and so on. One gift you can give your loved ones is “peace of mind” by making sure your Estate Plan is in place and up-to-date by doing the following 12 steps:

Day 1 – Make sure you have the 3 minimum estate planning documents: Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will.

Day 2 – Have there been any significant changes in your family this year: marriage, divorce, remarriage, birth of children? If so, then you will need to re-evaluate your Estate Plan to accommodate these changes.

Day 3 – Check the named representatives in your Estate Plan to make sure they can still serve in that capacity: i.e. Executor, Guardian, Trustee, etc.

Day 4 – Do you wish for your spouse or children to receive your estate upon your death immediately without waiting the mandatory minimum 6 month period required in probate before any distribution to heirs can occur? If so, then you will want to create a Living Trust to accomplish same.

Day 5 – Do you want your estate and heirs to remain private upon your death? If so, then you will want to create a Living Trust to accomplish same.

Day 6 – Did you just get engaged? If so, you may need to think about a Prenuptial Agreement.

Day 7 – Did you get married this year and need to protect your assets for prior born children? If so, a Postnuptial Agreement can accomplish same.

Day 8 – Review your named beneficiaries on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc.

Day 9 – Have you prepared your Personal Records Organizer? If not, you may download our FREE Legacy Planning – Personal Records Organizer.

Day 10 – Consider life insurance to provide for your spouse or children in the event of your death.

Day 11 – Think about funeral arrangements. Do you plan on donating your organs? What type of funeral service do you want?

Day 12 – Make sure your Estate Plan documents are stored in a safe location: fire proof safe or lock box.