Legal Resolutions for 2015, Part 1

A FEW LEGAL NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2015 THAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER  (PART I).

Another year has begun. Everyone, it seems, is making New Year’s resolutions. So here are a few important legal New Year’s resolutions for you to consider:

  1. Make sure you have a will. Otherwise, the laws of the state will determine who gets your property after you pass away. Also, in a will you can designate who will have physical custody of your minor children. You can also designate someone to have responsibility for the children’s finances. The financial person may or may not be the person who has custody. Finally, in some cases, a properly drafted will can save your beneficiaries thousands of dollars in estate taxes.
  2. Make sure you have a power of attorney. This will enable someone to be in charge of your legal affairs if you become disabled. If you become disabled, your family may have to file a court action to be able to handle legal matters on your behalf. Court actions are very expensive. By the way, “legal matters” include the most mundane things, such as maintaining a bank account. Having a properly drafted power of attorney makes it less likely that your family would have to go to court if you become disabled.
  3. Make sure you have a health care proxy, sometimes referred to as a “living will.” A person may become so ill that a decision must be made as to whether to terminate medical care. A living will designates under what circumstances you would want medical care terminated-or not. It also designates someone to make that decision, if you cannot.

Here is some information about wills and the estate process, courtesy of the Bergen County Surrogate’s office.

(To be continued.)

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