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Kelly & West News

5 Legal-Related Items to Organize in the New Year

Lawyers aren’t at the top of most people’s list of New Year’s resolutions. Instead, you’re making plans to do better, be better, or make a change. However, some of those changes may actually relate to our work for you — especially if your goal is to “get organized.” To help you get started, here is a list of 5 legal related-items to help you start the year off right.

1. Update your Will.

Chances are, something has changed since you last updated your Will. It might be your job, your family, your house or car. Many things change from year to year, and it’s critical to keep your Will updated. Having the latest information makes the probate process much easier for your family. As part of this process, you can also check on your power of attorney and healthcare directives in case your preferences have changed. Maybe you need to change the person listed as your executor or as your agent under your Power of Attorney. Contact us to get the latest information on file.

2. Update your passwords — and prepare in case you pass away suddenly.

Organizing your digital life is challenging. There are so many websites with logins and passwords! Most people have an average of 130 online accounts associated with their email address. And while it’s not secure, many people still reuse the same password across multiple websites. Whether it’s your bank account or your social media page, the new year is a perfect time to change your password. Plus, one big thing many people never think about: what happens to all those accounts when you pass away?

Try a password management tool such as Lastpass or something similar. Such tools can:2020, new year, organize

  • Help you track all your passwords, so you don’t have to remember them.
  • Help you generate secure passwords, unique to each site.
  • Enable you to share passwords with a trusted person. You decide whether he or she can see the password or only access the account.
  • Enable you to set up your partner, spouse, or loved one as an emergency person who can access your passwords if you pass away.

3. Update your asset list.

Do you have a list of everything you own in case of burglary, fire, or water damage? Most people don’t. Even if you’ve created a Will with a list of assets and how they should be distributed, that isn’t the same as having a full list for your insurance company. The easiest way to set this up is to take photos or videos of everything. We recommend Evernote, an app that lets you store photos. You can quickly take pictures and sort them in Evernote by room.

4. Get a safe deposit box for your vital documents.

A fireproof safe isn’t necessarily fireproof! We’ve heard from many people who thought their important papers were protected. But during a fire, the documents inside your safe might still suffer from heat damage. They become unreadable and, therefore, worthless. Safe deposit boxes at a bank are not expensive. They will give you a secure place to store passports, birth and death certificates, your marriage license, your Will, other estate planning documents, your Social Security card, and more. Don’t risk having to replace those items.

5. Check your insurance coverage. 

Speaking of insurance now is also an excellent time to check on your insurance coverage for your home, car, or other property. Make sure you have enough coverage and that you understand what is covered and what isn’t. For example, if your aging tree falls on your neighbor’s car, is that covered?

If you’re not sure about one of these legal-related items, or you need help updating your Will or organizing other legal documents, contact us today.

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