Legal checklist: Top ten “must do” things you can do now to protect you and your family.

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Legal checklist: Top ten “must do” things you can do now to protect you and your family.

Make sure you have car insurance. Not only are there substantial penalties for not having car insurance, up to and including losing your right to drive you also lose the right to file a claim for pain and suffering against a negligent driver that harms you! Make sure you have adequate car insurance. Most people just take the minimum no fault medical, which is not enough to cover the high medical bills should you or your family be injuried. Remember you are insuring your family with that part of the car insurance. Make sure you have a will. Most people think they do not need a will but the reality is most families will benefit from having a will and they are not expensive. Do avoid the “do it yourself” wills on the internet. For a small price you can see a lawyer in our office to make sure you do it right, and get a complete legal check up in the process. If you do not have a Will the Government will determine who will receive your property. For example, if you have a spouse and minor children the Government will have the property divided in half, with half going to your spouse and half to your children. Often you will want the estate to go to your surviving spouse knowing he or she will care for the children. In the event your spouse does not survive you, you will want to designate who will care for the children. Create a durable power of attorney for health care decisions. If you have a serious health issue you will need a family member to make important medical decisions if you are disabled. You might also need a durable power of attorney for financial decisions so a family member can pay your bills if a health problem renders you unable to handle your affairs. Check your POD. Kansas law authorizes bank accounts, car titles and transfer on death deeds to be controlled by Payable on Death instructions also called POD designations. These designations on bank accounts instruct the bank, savings and loan association or investment Company to pay any amounts remaining in the accounts to particular beneficiaries upon your death. Make sure your house deed is set up the same way. While you are at it, double check you have properly named beneficiaries on all retirement funds, and life insurance policies. This designation can help you avoid probate. Get an injury claim review. If you or anyone in your family has been injured have them call a lawyer to make sure they are getting all the insurance benefits to which they are entitled. Insurance companies have no obligation to push their insured to get the maximum benefits. Incorporate your small business. Now you can get significant income tax savings by becoming what is called a “sub-chapter S” corporation, incorporating your business or creating an LLC. Make sure your driver license has not expired. Pull it out and look at it. You never remember the expiration date and they don’t mail you a notice, so it’s good to check. Calendar the due date of your next car insurance premium. Put the due date on your calendar or better yet set up an automatic deduction from your checking account. You do not want to drive without insurance because you forgot to make the payment. You also want to plan ahead so you have the money to make the payment. Look at your bank statement. Actually look at that bank statement when it comes in the mail, or online. Make sure that you actually made all those expenditures. With cyber-thief on the rise, you will be surprised how many people are getting hit. One friend had her bank account being debited for gasoline purchases in Texas she didn’t purchase. Look at the statement, and notify your bank of suspicious activity. The bank will restore the funds if you properly report the loss.

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