The beginning of a new year is often a time when people make resolutions about things they are going to do in the new year. Whether it is losing weight, getting in shape or something else, we all want to start off on a good foot. When making your resolutions, why don't you resolve this year to make sure that your legal affairs are in order?
- If you have a Will, check to see if it is more than 3 years old. If so, read through it to see if there are any changes that should be made. Did you get married? Divorced? Have any new children or grandchildren?
- If you do not have a Will and are over 18, then arrange to meet with an attorney and have a Will prepared for you.
- Update your file folder with your financial records (account statements, insurance policies and the like) so that your family can easily access your financial information if something were to happen to you. if you do not have such a folder, now is a good time to make one.
Attorney Fred Abramson recently made these additional recommendations for checking on your “Legal Health”
If you want to stay legally healthy you should take special care with documents by:
- leading them carefully before you sign
- asking for an explanation of anything you don't understand
- keeping copies
- putting all important agreements or contracts in writing
- using certified mail for important documents so you can prove that you sent them
- keeping documents like wills and trusts up-to-date by reviewing them after a marriage, certified domestic partnership, divorce, birth or death
You should use a bank safe deposit box to store documents that you rarely use such as:
- automobile ownership certificate
- birth certificate
- divorce (dissolution) papers
- grant deed and policy of title insurance
- life insurance policy
- marriage license
- naturalization papers
- will and trusts
You should keep for at least six years such papers as:
- agreements, loan papers and similar documents
- bank statements and cancelled checks
- copies of income tax returns (bad debt or worthless securities deductions – 7
- insurance policies, including auto, homeowners and public liability
- real estate tax bills
In case of theft or fire, you should keep in a safe place a list of personal property, including:
- descriptions of the property
- identification numbers
You should get and keep receipts for:
- rent payments, if you pay in cash
- most purchases or payments
Your legal health will also will improve if you:
- make a will once you are 18-years-old
- make and keep notes on important conversations, especially if you talk about money, agreements or property
- pay attention to any legal notices or demands you receive
- get help for problems instead of ignoring them
How is your Legal Health, by Fred Abramson, Esquire
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