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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ... for a Legal To-Do List

By William Peacock, Esq. on December 18, 2013 3:04 PM

Here at FindLaw, we're putting together year-end reports, getting ready for vacations, ... and doing everything we can to clear our calendars so that we have plenty of time at the start of the year to produce quality content for you, our dear readers.

Besides, would you rather handle last year's procrastinated tasks, or next year's resolutions?

Nothing beats a "to-do" list to stop procrastinating. So without further ado, here are a few suggestions for what to put on your "legal to-do" list as the year wraps up:

1. 'Tis the Season ... to Max Out Your Charitable Contributions.

Why not? You'll need the tax deductions, and if your employer provides matching gifts, you can make all the difference for a starving law school law student child in need.

2. 'Tis the Season ... to Prepare for Tax Time (for Individuals, Businesses, and Law Firms).

Although much of your tax work will come after the New Year, gathering records of your deductions (business expenses, student loan interest payments, charitable contributions, etc.), and getting your financial records in order will save you from any last-minute panic -- or trying to wedge in an appointment with a CPA in late March.

3. 'Tis the Season ... to Talk About Estate Planning (Since You'll Be at Grandma's House Anyway).

You know, Uncle Jimmy isn't looking too good. And you know how much he hates his children.... Just kidding (maybe).

In all seriousness, now really is the time to get your estate in order. If you have an estate plan, have you accounted for any recent births, deaths, marriages, or divorces? Do you need to change trustees? How about updating your insurance policies and beneficiaries?

And if you don't have a plan, read up on estate planning first, then discuss your wishes with your family in person. You may also want to consult an experienced estate-planning attorney who can make sure everything is in order.

4. 'Tis the Season ... to Get Heath Insurance.

Remember, the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate becomes effective on January 1, unless you are exempt. If you're an individual, you'll want to make sure you have sufficient coverage before then. And if you run a business, you'll want to explore possible tax credits for providing health care to your employees.

5. 'Tis the Season ... to Put the Work Away and Spend Quality Time With Family.

That's right. Mr. Get Stuff Done is advising you to put the work away. After all, it's Christmas/Kwanzaa/New Year's, so take this ever-so-rare opportunity to spend time with your family and rest up for the challenges of the new year.

From all of us here at FindLaw, have a safe and happy holiday season.

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