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8 Things You Probably Didn’t Think about When Planning Your Estate Until You Had to Deal with It

Estate Planning is making sure things are in order before your death or if you are incapacitated. Usually, when you hear those words, you might think about who will inherit your car, or what money will be allocated to your children when you pass away. However, estate planning covers a lot more information than many people assume; in fact, it can be a little disorienting to work out all of the necessary details. Luckily, the attorneys at Kelly & West are happy to help you through the process and ensure that all of your plans are thorough and well-organized.

If you’ve already met with a Kelly & West attorney to discuss your estate planning, you probably encountered many topics that you hadn’t previously considered. If you haven’t completed your estate planning yet, here are eight things you may not think about until you have to deal with them!

1. Your Starting Point: It’s never too early to start the estate planning process! Of course, we all hope and expect to live until we are “old,” but it’s better to get started early in adulthood. While it can be an uncomfortable topic to consider, estate planning can be especially critical for the well-being of your family, friends, and of course, you!

2. A Living Will: This is also called A Desire for Natural Death or an advance directive. This document lets a person state his or her wishes for end-of-life medical care, such as life-support and feeding through tubes, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions for themselves. A living will has no power after death. Take some time to think about your wishes regarding life support before meeting with your attorney.

3. Digital Footprints: In this day and age, it’s essential to consider who you would like to have access to your digital belongings. This could include online banking, blogs, photo storage files, social media logins, and more. Make sure to put a plan in place for someone to access these things after you’re gone. Some password programs give you the option of choosing an emergency contact, such as a partner or spouse, for this reason.

4. Insurance Policies: One step in the estate planning process is determining what your assets are, which includes insurance policies. Auto, health, life, and homeowners’ policies should be reviewed to make sure that those assets pass to whom you would like to receive them after death. Most people don’t know it, but they actually are not controlled by the will but by beneficiary designation.

5. Identifying Assets: In addition to your insurance policies, you’ll need to define the rest of your assets. From real estate to valuable baseball card collections, make a list of these items.

6. Will, Trust, & Deed: A will, trust, and deed determine where those assets will go after their owner’s death. Each document has a slightly different purpose; a will determines inheritance allocation, a trust determines how and when that inheritance will be distributed, and a deed can determine who will receive real property.

7. Raising the Kids: While it can be a hard topic to talk about, estate planning helps parents prepare for worst-case scenarios. Your documents will include instructions regarding who will inherit guardianship of your children, should events require such a transition.

8. Edits: Life changes; your will should change, too. If time passes and you determine that you would like to disinherit an ex-spouse from your will, update your documents to include new assets, or change your Power of Attorney plans, edits can be made, and this is encouraged!

Estate planning allows you to relax knowing that your family, friends, and belongings will all be taken care of, even after you can’t be there to do it personally. To begin your estate planning process, talk to us.

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Personal injury is a fancy way of saying you got hurt — and it’s something someone else caused or could have prevented. Accidents happen every single day, but if you get hurt in one, you may feel concerned or worried about paying for your medical bills or time you missed from work. That’s why people may choose to file a personal injury claim, a way of seeking monetary benefits for an injury caused by another person or company. 

personal injury termsIn 2017 alone, Nationwide insurance company paid $18.7 billion in claims to its members. Here are the top personal injury claims that affect most people:

Car Accidents

Yearly, there is estimated to be more than 6 million vehicle-related accidents in the United States. While this number is only increasing, drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists are in danger. Distractions such as smartphones, navigation systems or car-related functions might be the reason. Regardless, if you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible for compensation. Make it a priority always to always visit a doctor after an accident, even if you feel fine. There are many cases where victims did not suffer physical injuries but sustained many internal injuries.

Slip and Fall

Slip and fall claims are a common personal injury claim. A slip and fall can occur anywhere, at work, home, in a restaurant. Elderly people are more likely to sustain a severe injury after a fall. Damage to the hip, head, back, and neck are very common. It may be difficult to prove a slip and fall claim. Contacting a lawyer after a slip and fall incident is crucial.

Product Liability

There is an average of 20,000 product liability claims that are filed in the United States each year alone. Many cases of product liability claims are defective toys, dangerous pet products, unsafe medical devices. Product liability typically has one of the highest average compensation values.

Workplace-Related Injuries

Have you fallen on the job? Work-related injuries are very common and can happen to anyone. Work-related injuries are often unreported due to fear of termination, but that means someone else may get hurt later in the same way. If you have been injured at work, report it immediately and contact a lawyer.

Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is another very commontype of personal injury claim. Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider doesn’t meet an adequate level of standard care required for a patient. This malpractice causes injury or harm as a result. There are many ways to prove medical negligence has occurred. Some examples are, failing to tell a patient of known risks, failure to diagnose, doctors negligence caused the injury and improper treatment was administered. Medical negligence is among one of the hardest and complex claims to prove and win; it requires many witnesses that must be willing to testify. However, that shouldn’t scare you off if you feel something wasn’t right with your medical care.

If you have questions about a personal injury, contact us for a free consultation.