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The 10 Reasons You Need a Will

  A will is a legally binding document that pertains to the distribution of your assets and estate upon your passing. While an important document, many people avoid writing a will because they find it a bit macabre. However, there are at least ten reasons to write your will today. Life is Unexpected No one is guaranteed a specific amount of time on this planet. Life is unexpected, and no one is promised tomorrow. Therefore, while it may seem like your twilight is far away, you can’t be certain. Guardianship If you have children, then a will is a must. You do not want your kids to go through the foster care system because you failed to assign a guardian in the event of your death or incapacitation. Avoid Probate While the probate process may not be avoided entirely, having an official legal document that has been notarized and filed with the court can make the probate process more manageable. Just because you finalize the document now doesn’t mean you can’t change it later. Reduce Estate Tax Having a will in place may also reduce estate tax. This reduction occurs because money given to family and charity is subtracted from the value of the estate. Name an Executor An executor is charged with the distribution of your estate, and should be someone you trust. However, if you do not have a will or have not specified someone, the probate court will appoint a representative on your behalf. Control Over Inheritances If you do not have a will, then assets are typically distributed evenly among your immediate family. However, the law does not discern from absent fathers or long lost siblings. Therefore, people may inherit assets who don’t deserve them if you don’t have a will. Designate Charitable Gifts A will allows you to designate charitable gifts. Without a will, your assets are divided among your family members and creditors, meaning that charities you support will be left out altogether. Avoid Disputes and Legal Trouble Regardless of the size of the estate, legal disputes and trouble can occur if your final wishes are not made known. A will allows you to speak for yourself even after death. Estate Distribution Again, a will gives you control over the distribution of your assets. Therefore, your estate is managed the way you want it managed even after you pass. Changeable Last, a will is not...
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The Importance of Estate Planning

It’s a common misconception that developing an estate plan is only for the wealthy. In fact, it’s essential for almost anyone to have an estate plan in place for when you are unable to make decisions for yourself or your assets. Having a clear plan in place can not only ensure that your family has a clear plan for your wishes but mitigate the risk of much headache and heartache for loved ones. The following are common questions asked by people who are in the process of estate planning: Should I just create an estate plan on my own? There are a number of online estate planning tools that allow people to develop their estate plan without the guidance of a lawyer. However, these programs don’t often take into account your specific needs, in addition to tax laws within your state. Working with an estate planning lawyer can help you reduce complications that may come with developing your own estate plan using a one size fits all software. The last thing you want is for one small mistake to render the will invalid. This not only can be costly for your estate but create significant problems for your family. Working with an estate planning lawyer can greatly reduce this risk, help your heirs to retain as much of your wealth as possible and provide you with the opportunity to create a customized estate plan. Should I share the contents of my estate plan with loved ones? The last thing any person wants is for their family to be left fighting over assets and final wishes. Because of this, it may be in your best interest to share certain components within your estate plan. While it’s always essential to speak with those you would like to appoint as executor of your estate or guardian of your children, it may also be beneficial to speak with your loved ones. This can give your loved ones the opportunity to voice any concerns so that they can be resolved quickly. This can also give your family peace of mind in knowing that you have a clear plan in place for when the time comes. What risks am I taking without an estate plan in place? Should you pass away without an estate plan, you will be considered to have died intestate. As a result, your estate will go into probate court, meaning that...
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FAQ: Understanding the Importance of Medical Directives and Power of Attorney

Making plans over what will happen in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself is a grim subject to say the least. However, working with an estate planning lawyer to incorporate a living will and power of attorney is essential. Both of these factors may come into play should you be unable to make healthcare and financial decisions while you are still living. Having these key estate planning documents in place can help to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way you would like. For the help you deserve when making such significant decisions, it’s important to contact an estate planning lawyer. The following are frequently asked questions regarding medical directives and power of attorney.  What is a living will? A living will, also known as an advanced medical directive, is a key document to be included within an estate plan. It outlines a number of key decisions in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions on your own. This can help to guide family members and medical professionals of your medical wishes should be unable to make them. As grim as it may sound, there are a number of end of life decisions that should be outlined. An estate planning lawyer can help you to understand the decisions that will need to be made so that you may include them as part of your estate plan.  How can power of attorney benefit me? Power of attorney is a bit different than an advanced medical directive. While the two can go hand in hand, the attorney in fact, or power of attorney may hold a different role in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself. While a person with power of attorney may have the ability to make medical decisions, they will have the authority to make financial decisions for you. This can include managing bank accounts, paying your expenses and gaining control over property. Identifying someone to take on this role is key. Should you not appoint someone in your estate plan, a court process may be required to declare you incompetent and appoint someone to assume this role. As a result, the power you have in appointing power of attorney will be entirely out of your control.  How can I ensure that when the time comes for power of attorney,...
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How to Protect Your Credit After an Accident

An unfortunate side effect of being injured in a car accident is that to recover from your injuries, you may incur significant medical bills and debt. While the assumption might be that you can wait to recover damages through a settlement offer, your medical providers will probably not want to wait for their money. Therefore, before you decide to hold off paying, it is necessary to understand the risks you take by doing so, and also, how to cover those expenses, so you don’t have to worry. Negative Impact of Unpaid Medical Bills Unfortunately, if you choose to wait on paying your medical expenses, it can hurt your credit score. Also, depending on the extent of your injuries and continued necessary treatments, a hospital or care provider may not allow the continuation of treatment unless they are paid. Therefore, it is essential to keep up with medical costs, even if you think a settlement or judgment will cover everything later. five Ways to Pay Medical Bills Since it is necessary to pay for your treatments to avoid any negative actions and consequences, it is also essential to understand the tools available to help you make such payments. There are at least five ways of paying down and paying off medical debt before you receive a settlement or judgment. PIP Your auto insurance policy likely has what they call PIP or personal injury protection. While this coverage may not cover all your medical expenses, it will cover some, but the money is dished out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Health Insurance Your personal health insurance plan can help to cover your losses until you receive a settlement. They will cover your expenses, but they will track your accident injuries so that if you receive a settlement, they can recover their losses. Medicaid/Medicare Medicaid and Medicare both operate similarly to your regular healthcare coverage. However, if they know the injuries are from a car accident, they will not pay until the PIP coverage is exhausted. Attorney Liens If you have a pretty cut and dry case, then your attorney may help you cover your bills by offering you a lien. These liens offer medical providers first access to your settlement. Out of Pocket Last, you can pay out of pocket for the bills. While not ideal, if you have the money, it might be the best option. The best advice when dealing with...
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Understand Your Personal Injury Settlement Options

Let’s say you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligent actions. You filed or plan to file a personal injury lawsuit to be compensated for your expenses. Perhaps you have already started the court proceedings. No matter how far along you are in the process, you may be offered a settlement agreement. This gives many people pause. What should you do if you are given an offer to settle? The most important thing to do is to discuss it with your personal injury lawyer. Never accept or reject a settlement offer without consulting your legal representation. This simple guide will go over some of the basics. What Settling Really Means Movies and other forms of media have portrayed settling in an extremely negative light. You should never think of accepting a settlement agreement as giving in or admitting defeat in any way. That’s really not a very helpful way to view a court case. You should not be trying to “win,” but rather to regain what you lost. As such, accepting a settlement is simply a way that both parties can come to an agreement and both save court costs, time, and effort. There are situations where settling is your best option, and there are situations where you should not settle. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to advice you given the specific details of your case. It may surprise you to learn that nearly all court cases end with a settlement. It is actually quite rare for a civil case to go all the way to the ruling. Knowing When Not To Settle Typically, there are only three reasons you should not accept a settlement in a personal injury case: You have not yet spoken with your lawyer. This goes without saying. Always consult with a legal professional.You have not yet received medical treatment. If you have not received medical treatment, you cannot know how serious the injury is or how much it will cost to treat. There is no way to know whether or not the settlement offer includes all the expenses.The settlement offer is not fair. All settlements will be less than what could be gained in a court ruling. However, this does not make them unfair. The lower amount is in exchange for faster payment and saving court costs. Your personal injury lawyer in Deer Park, TX will be able to tell...
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