Legal Health Checklist

The law touches every aspect of our lives, whether it is planning for a life changing event, updating business documents or filing your taxes. Whether it is assistance with a problem once it arises or finding a preventative legal solution to help you avoid unnecessary litigation, it is always the perfect time to put your legal plan in action both personally and professionally.

1. Create or update your will, living will and power of attorney.

A will enables you to develop a plan for the disposition of property at death and helps you minimize tax burdens. A living will documents your wishes regarding life-sustaining procedures if you become terminally ill and unable to so direct. A medical power of attorney permits you to appoint a health care agent to make health care decisions if you become incapacitated. If you have a will and/or advance directive, you should review these documents and contact an attorney to make any necessary changes. If you do not have these documents, you should contact an attorney to draft the documents for you.

2. Establish an estate plan.

Regardless of your age and complexity of your estate, estate planning ensures that your final property and health care wishes are honored, loved ones are provided for, tax burdens are minimized and avoids the time and costs of probate. A comprehensive estate plan can also resolve a number of legal questions that arise whenever anyone dies. If you have an estate plan, review your documents and contact an attorney to make any changes. If you do not have an estate plan, talk to a qualified estate planning attorney to help you create a plan to protect your assets and your loved ones.

3. Gather financial documents.

If you are involved in litigation such as a divorce, personal injury case or contract dispute. Shortly, you should be receiving year-end statements from banks, brokerages, credit card companies and the like in the mail. Make copies of these. Secure the copies with a trusted friend or family member, or use a safe deposit box that your others can’t access. Having important documents on hand can help you avoid any possible unpleasantness, unnecessary time and expense of trying to get copies of them later.

4. Assess your credit.

Obtain your credit report and fix any misinformation. Good credit is important for your financial future and without good credit it can be near impossible to obtain loans, or even to manage the expenses of running your household. Keep an especially close eye on credit card statements. If you are going through a divorce or separation and your spouse is using your joint credit cards, you’ll want to be able to document that.

5. Review your child support order.

If your child support order is 3 years old, or older, you may be entitled to a child support review. If there has been a 20% change in your income or your ex’s income, a child support modification may be in order. Consider contacting a family law attorney for a review of your existing court orders and to consider whether you are eligible for a child support modification.

6. Incorporate Your Business.

The New Year is one of the best times to incorporate especially if you file January 1. Talk to a qualified business attorney about the best options for incorporating your business and speak with a qualified tax professional about the tax benefits incorporating your business can provide.

7. Update employment contracts and other business contracts.

If you own a business, the New Year is a perfect time to review your business contracts and discuss them with your vendors and employees. Negotiate new provisions or add items if you feel the contracts do not adequately reflect your desires. Consult a qualified business attorney for advice about modifying existing contracts or creating new contracts.

8. Know your rights.

In certain matters like personal injury, medical malpractice or car and vehicle accidents, you should seek legal advice before the time runs out to file your case. Talk to a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.