The New Year will be here before you know it. So as you start thinking about your New Year’s legal Resolutions, consider adding some of these to your list of to-dos. 

Create a Will (or Update Your Existing One)

One legal document that everyone should have is a will. So whether you have millions of dollars worth of assets to your name or you’re pinching pennies together, you should have some kind of will in place. 

Your will is your best way of communicating what you want to happen when you pass away. It helps everyone understand what you want to happen with your assets, such as real estate, saving accounts, stocks, and bonds. If your children are minors, your will also communicates who you would like to become the new guardians. 

Let’s put it this way – if you don’t have a will, the courts will decide these things for you. While they may make the same choices you would have, these things are so important that you shouldn’t leave them up to chance. 

Update or Create Your Power of Attorney. 

The other thing we suggest reviewing is your Power of Attorney. This document outlines who has access to your private information, such as medical or financial info. It also spells out who can make medical or financial decisions for you in case you’re unable to. 

For example, let’s say that Bob was in a car accident and ended up in a coma. The doctors don’t know when Bob will wake up, so someone else needs to manage his affairs, like pay his bills and decide what kind of medical procedures can be done on him. 

If there is no Power of Attorney in place, things get messy and aren’t cut and dry. But with a POA, whoever was designed to have Power of Attorney can make these decisions for Bob and take care of things until he wakes up. 

Get Ready for Divorce (if You Were Already Going to)

In the family law world, January is the biggest month for divorces. It’s common because many families wait until after the holidays to file for divorce. Even though it probably made for a more awkward Christmas and New Year’s party, couples usually wait because they don’t want to ruin the holiday with the bad news of divorce. 

Yes, this is true whether the couple has young children or not. 

If you’re planning on submitting divorce paperwork, go ahead and start getting everything together. The most important documents to collect are financial documents and anything that proves ownership of significant assets such as your house and car.

Last-Minute Retirement or Charity Contributions

Even though you can actually contribute towards your retirement account for a few more months, why wait? The end of the year is an excellent time to add any contributions to your retirement account to lower your tax bill next year. 

The other thing you can do is make charitable contributions. December is National Giving Month and accounts for about 20% of nonprofit annual revenues. Of course, part of that is people getting into the holiday spirit, but that’s not the only reason. Some people give to charities during this time to lower their taxes. When they get to benefit a charity they care about and reduce their tax bill at the same time; it’s a win-win. 


Do you have any of these legal New Year’s Resolutions on your list? Maybe you have some other legal issue you want to tie up? We’d love to help! Call us at 714.456.9118 or send us an email, and we’ll set up some time to go over things with you. 

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