Twitter Facebook Myspace

Legal Checklist for the New Year

Dear Friends,

It is a New Year and a good time to review your legal affairs. Here are a few things you should think about for 2018:

1) Review your licenses. Which ones will expire in the coming year? Mark on your new calendar the date when the license will expire and place a tickler note several weeks before the expiration date so that you have plenty of time to file for a renewal.

2) Review your life insurance. Life insurance goes directly to the beneficiary named on the policy. It does not go through your will unless you have the policy made payable to yourself. Life insurance is, however, part of your estate when it comes to paying death taxes.

3) Review your liability policies. For most people, their liability policies are their home and auto insurance policies. These policies are important because they will pay for a lawyer to defend you if you are sued.

4) Powers of Attorney: Most lawyers recommend that every adult have a durable power of attorney which will allow someone to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated. These are very dangerous documents because they give the person named total access to your assets. They are very important documents because if you become sick, they provide your family with an easy and inexpensive way of taking care of your affairs.

5) Minor Children: If you have minor children, you need to provide for their care if you get sick, are in an accident or die. Make sure your children and other responsible people in your family know where the children are supposed to go if something happens to you. Each year you should review your choice of guardian. Is that choice still a good choice?

6) Wills and trusts: Wills and trusts, when used properly, are not substitutes for each other. They are different tools used in estate planning. One very good reason to have a will is to name a guardian for your minor children. The courts will generally honor your wishes. You can also create a testamentary trust within your will to manage any money you leave for your minor children. Once your children are grown, you should change your will to reflect the change in your circumstances.

7) Elder law is a specialty. Things that elder law planners have you do are not the same as the things that tax planners will have you do. In tax planning they will tell you that you may make gifts of up to $11,000 per year to as many individuals as you want without tax consequences. That is true. Unfortunately, the Medicaid rules are not the same. In many places (the rules vary slightly from state to state) any sum of money you give away within five years of a nursing home placement will trigger a penalty.

8) Charities: While you are reviewing your estate plan, think about supporting those charities and organizations that have been important to you. Gifts to charities are deducted from your gross estate.

9) The point is, plan ahead for yourself and your family.

We hope that this checklist is helpful to you. It is not all inclusive but covers the most significant points. Please call us if you have any questions. We are here to serve you.

And remember, our monthly Second Saturday Divorce Workshop is coming up on Feb. 10 at 10AM. Call (818)348-6700 to RSVP or visit www.thelawcollaborative.com/secondsaturday.htm for more info.

Happy New Year,
Ron Supancic and Ty Supancic
The Law Collaborative, APC
www.thelawcollaborative.com

Untold Secrets

Mike Emrani is a multi-lingual insurance agent with forty-five years of experience. One of his specialties is divorce financial planning. He recently sent me this article regarding the most common errors people make buying insurance, and I’d like to share it with you as well.

Do NOT blindly trust your agent, no matter how well you trust him /her. Ask questions and ask him/her to show you in writing every single subject or promise that he/she orally represents to you; especially in your life insurance policy. A lot of flaws in insurance occurs when clients blindly trust their trusted agents and do not carefully REVIEW their policy(ies).

To read the rest of this important and informative article, click here.