Have You Organized Your Finances?

Asset checkupWhat many people don’t realize is that good legal planning is an essential component of our financial health.  Effective legal documents can protect us from costly divorces, lawsuits and exorbitant transfer taxes. Why then, do half of us not even have a will? 

Fox News recently posted some tips in an article titled Is it time for your legal checkup?The article advises that a will is a great starting point, even if you’re young and healthy. Once we have children, another important part of estate planning is designating a guardian who will rear your children if something unforeseen happens. It’s also important to decide the ages at which your kids should inherit assets. You should discuss all of this with your estate planning attorney: allowing the trustee to have the discretion as to how, whether, and when to make distributions can protect immature or young beneficiaries. This will also keep these assets from counting against a young person’s college financial aid applications.

The Fox News article also counsels against online or DIY estate planning kits, as no two situations are identical. You can trust an attorney with information about your loved ones’ spending issues, troubled marriages, developmental disabilities, gambling and/or substance abuse problems so that he or she can work with you to create a strategy to protect everyone. A “fill in the blanks” document could not possibly protect our goofy relatives from each other! Come on, your brother-in-law Ed is no financial planner!

A Power of Attorney allows you to name an agent who can sign documents and transact business on your behalf, if you become mentally or physically incapacitated. It’s critical to customize the document based upon your relationship with the named agent. For example, young people may want to limit the agent’s authority to just paying bills, and older married people usually want to delegate full power to each other.

While you are at it, think about your health care advance directive. This allows you to designate an agent who has your permission to speak with your medical caregivers about your treatment decisions on your behalf if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Once the basic estate plan is in place, you should revisit it periodically with your attorney. If there’s a big change in your circumstances—either good or bad—your estate planning attorney should be made aware.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: Fox News (February 12, 2015) Is it time for your legal checkup?


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.