Every New Year, many of us make resolutions to get in shape, try something new, or make more money. These are great goals to have, but we often overlook a critical aspect of personal and financial health in the process. Estate planning is a critical task to complete, but few people want to sit down and think about post-mortality plans. Some even believe that doing so manifests bad luck. At Atkinson Law, we call this the “dread of dead.” While it’s true that estate planning requires you to think about death, it can also be life-affirming. Protecting your family's future and making a plan for your assets brings great relief. At times, thinking about mortality allows us to be grateful for the time we have. When you partner with a trusted estate attorney, they’ll also put you at ease and discuss the topic with care. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s this: making a plan has more positive consequences than not making one. In light of that, how can you begin the estate planning process in 2023?
As we discussed in our previous post, wills are only one part of estate planning. We also provide our clients with peace of mind through other aspects of the process, such as power of attorney documents. Creating a health/durable power of attorney is essential if you want someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. However, what happens to your assets if you’re incapacitated? Maybe you have bills to pay or you own a business, but you’re unable to proceed. Before something like this occurs, you’ll want to partner with an attorney to create a financial POA.
Right now, you’re probably thinking about sparkly gift wrap, frosted Christmas cookies, and upcoming family plans. Maybe you’ve thought about treating yourself to something special this year, too. There’s nothing wrong with a new ugly sweater, but why not opt for something more lasting?
When we’re celebrating, we often make decisions we wouldn’t otherwise. For instance, you might have heard a family member say something like this during a get-together: “Alright, I’ll have one more drink. It’s Christmas!” You might have also heard friends or family claim they can drive since they had a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, taking these kinds of risks can result in life-changing consequences. Even if no one gets hurt, a DUI could result in you losing your license, paying an expensive fine, or even going to jail. While there’s nothing wrong with celebrating, it’s important to do so safely. Here are a few ways you can stay safe and prevent DUIs during the holidays.
Veterans are a specialized group of defendants in the criminal justice system, and they face a unique set of challenges. It’s essential for attorneys to understand the common legal issues that pertain to this group. There are a broad range of mitigating circumstances that could affect a veteran’s criminal defense case. Many veterans face instability and the threat of homelessness, for instance, and 70% of homeless vets experience substance abuse. Mental illnesses and injuries that require long-term care are also more likely in veteran populations. While none of these factors go hand-in-hand with crime, veterans face increased pressures and hardships that put them at a greater risk for criminal activity. A veteran who was recently evicted and has very little money for food, for instance, may be desperate enough to steal from a grocery store.
Our lives are unpredictable, and they can change at any time. If you were to fall ill or become incapacitated in any way, you would want a trusted individual to handle your affairs. This is where power of attorney documents come into play. POA documents provide the legal authority to make financial and health-related decisions for a person in the event that they are no longer able to do so. Decisions can involve the sale of a home, the application of benefits like Medicare, and the type of healthcare an individual receives.
In the aftermath of a car accident, what do you do first? For most people, hiring a lawyer isn’t at the top of the list. You’ll probably call the police, check to see if anyone needs medical care, and exchange insurance information with the other party. From there, you might examine the damage to your vehicle and seek out an auto repair shop. Do you really need a lawyer after a car accident? If so, when should you hire one? Do you only need legal representation under certain circumstances?
With the help of a skilled lawyer, you can write up a will starting at the age of 18 in Maryland. However, when was the last time you heard an 18-year-old talking about creating a will? In our culture, speaking openly about death is viewed as morbid, and it’s something we avoid at all costs. This is especially the case when we’re young. Most young people are concerned with other aspects of their future, like planning for college and earning a livable wage. At this point, a will seems unnecessary and something reserved for the elderly.
If you want to pass on your property to your children, you don't want to leave them with complicated legal issues. Unfortunately, it's impossible to guarantee that your wishes will be carried out without estate planning. Many people believe that telling someone how they want their assets to be distributed is enough. However, when you leave your property to your children (or someone else), it's not sufficient to state that you expect this to happen. Writing up a document with a skilled lawyer is the only way to ensure your loved ones will inherit your property.
Labor Day honors all the working men and women in our country, and all of those who fought for workers’ rights during the 19th-century Labor Movement. Celebrating Labor Day is an American tradition, and many families plan festivities around the holiday.