Things to Put on Your Estate Planning To-Do List Before the Holidays

For most, the holiday season means a focus on the family. During this special time of the year, loved ones come together to share the gift of life through delicious meals, beloved customs, and time-honored traditions. These gatherings are an optimal time to initiate or update your estate plans and share them with your loved ones.

Before doing so, however, consider forming an estate-planning to-do list. This list will help ensure you cover all of the important estate planning basics and clearly communicate your wishes to your family.

HIPAA Authorization

Including a HIPAA authorization in your estate plan means your loved ones can receive important medical information about you if you have been injured or fallen unconscious. HIPAA authorization is important because it allows your family members to make informed decisions.

Healthcare Surrogate Form

You want to make sure you have a valid healthcare power of attorney in your estate plan as well. Suppose that you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions. In that case, a healthcare surrogate form can empower an individual of your choosing to make vital decisions about your care on your behalf.

Power of Attorney for Finances

A power of attorney for your finances is also a recommended part of a holiday season checklist.

Imagine being unable to make important decisions that affect your finances. Without a designated person who can make decisions on your behalf, your family may be forced to hire an attorney and petition a judge to appoint a conservator of your estate, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Last Will and Testament

A will is important because it lays out how your estate will be distributed when you pass. Without one, intestate rules apply, and these rules may be contrary to your wishes. Additionally, distributing an estate without a will is often contentious, expensive, and time-consuming.


If you have many assets and a big family, you probably have multiple beneficiaries in line to receive your assets.

The holidays are a good time to review and consider your potential beneficiaries and what you would like them to inherit. If you already have a number of beneficiaries in place, the holiday season is also a good time to review your previous decisions and affirm or change them.

Other Important Items for Your List

With the above-listed bases covered on your checklist, you’re well on your way to having a secure estate plan. However, there are a few other considerations, such as life insurance policies or outstanding mortgages. You will also want to review your tax status and documents as well as your retirement and pension plans and investments.

One of the best gifts you can give to your family is a thorough and well-thought-out estate plan. And with the holiday season around the corner, it makes fiscal and emotional sense to review your estate planning to-do list for the benefit of your family and the life you have worked so hard to build.

Contact The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm for help with your estate planning needs, and get the peace of mind that comes from having your affairs in order.