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End of the Year Legal Tune Up

As we come to the end of 2014, it is a good idea to review the different aspects of your legal documents.

Check your will and estate planning documents (will, trust, Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will and Preneed Guardianship Designation).  If you or a family matter has married, divorced, had a child or other life changing situations, your estate planning documents may need to be D updated.  This includes designation of a beneficiary for your life insurance policies and any “payment upon death” accounts.  I have seen many situations in which someone has created their estate planning documents and not checked them for years.  Then, after many years, an event occurs which triggers to the usage of your estate planning and other documents that end in a result that was not desired.
Check your credit report to make sure no illicit activities are occurring.  There are several web sites where you can check for free.  It is imperative that you take all actions you can to protect yourself in this era of hacking and identity theft.  Credit reports are reported to have errors on them 75% of the time.  If you find an error, contact the Federal Trade Commission web site to file a complaint.
Check the value of your home and your mortgage balance.  If the value of your home has increased, you may want to get additional insurance.  You also want to make sure that your mortgage holder is giving you full credit for all you payments and not charging any undue amounts to your account.
Check your credit card bills and interest rate to make sure the credit card company is not overcharging you.  Check your vendors, such as your cable service, to make sure they have not increased your rates without justification.
It is important to take responsibility for your finances and not just assume that there are no mistakes being made.  You may save yourself a substantial amount of money and heartache.  Have a happy 2015.

Posted December 29, 2014