Christmas is right around the corner and the holiday season is in full swing.

In the midst of spreading holiday cheer and visits with loved ones, take the opportunity to create or review your estate plan and talk it over with your family.

According to a local CBS article, “Our Families: The Important Papers”one of the best gifts you can give is to make sure your financial and legal affairs are in order and that the people you love and trust the most know what to do in the event of the unspeakable happening.

So, what should you do?

Get organized.

Gather all of your important financial and legal papers,  organize and secure them in a safe place such as a home safe or locked file cabinet. Create a list of important people and their contact information. Then create a list of where these important documents can be found when needed, and share this information with the people you trust the most. Having someone in your life who can access those papers is vital no matter what stage in life you’re in.

Ensure your wishes will be followed in your estate plan.

If you don’t have a will or guardianship papers for your children, the state already has a plan for you.

If you pass away or become disabled, you don’t want your kids to be placed in custody of the wrong people or your spouse being subject to the time and control of the court system to get access to much needed funds.

Meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to get a will or trust tailored to your needs and desires. Choose backup parents to be the legal guardians for your children. If your existing will or trust was made more than 2-3 years ago, have it reviewed by an attorney to ensure it still matches your wishes.

Plan your legacy.

If you have young children, there is probably a lot they have yet to learn from you or about who you are. Memorializing your legacy is one of the most important parts of your estate plan. Go beyond the traditional financial and legal aspects of your estate plan and give the gift of a legacy video or letter – your own words and insights that your family can look back on and cherish forever.

Remember, no one loves your family like you do, so make sure that your wishes are known and will be legally enforced. Engage a competent legal professional.

For more information about Estate Planning for your family, attend a free workshop or schedule a free coffee meeting with Attorney Alex Gaines by clicking here.

Merry Christmas!