We are a couple of months into the new year and it’s a great time to examine 5 very important P’s in your life.
What happened in your personal life last year or will happen this year? Are you looking to form a new business? Are you getting married? Did you have a child? Have you updated your will? Personal changes happen often and ensuring the legal side to the changes is also updated is paramount in your protection.
Are you thinking of buying or selling property? It has slowly but surely turned into a buyer’s market here in New York, so if you are on the selling side, be an educated seller. Know what you should do prior to listing your home. Do you have a Certificate of Occupancy for that garage conversion? Did you build an addition or make any significant changes to your home since you moved in? Do you have your paperwork in order (deeds, mortgage information?)
Do you need to make any updates or changes to your policies? Insurance, life insurance, etc. Are your beneficiaries up to date? IRAs, 401ks in order? Sometimes people put a certain beneficiary or alternative beneficiary on their policies and forget about them. When you are on auto-pilot, it is easy to forget that you may need to update your policies and protect yourself from a catastrophe just waiting to happen.
Examine future planning. What will happen to your pets if you are unable to take care of them? You can create a Pet Trust, which is a “legally sanctioned arrangement providing for the care and maintenance of one or more companion animals in the event of a grantor’s disability or death.” And this isn’t just for cats or dogs, these trusts apply to other pets like birds, turtles, etc.
Have family dynamics changed and estate planning needs to be looked at? Never assume a verbal agreement between family members is going to hold up. Things can take a turn quickly when money and emotions are involved. One of the things I saw when clerking for Surrogate Radigan so many years ago was that money and death change people. So, ask yourself, have you appointed the right fiduciaries in your will, power of attorney or health care proxy? Or, perhaps did you appoint an older relative who has since passed on or is in bad health? If so, it’s time to change your estate planning documents.
On the business side of things, examine your partnerships. Are plans in place if a member wants to retire, passes away or wants to sell the business? Has anything changed since the last time you looked at the documents created? Often, it’s at the start of the partnership and isn’t updated until it’s too late.Without a proper operating agreement or shareholder’s agreement in place, you may find yourself in business with your partner’s relatives.
One last P for you is just to PREPARE. Sugarman Law is here to help with all of the above, so feel free to reach out to us anytime. If you find that you have any questions, please give us a call. I would be glad to spend 15 minutes to review your plan and make any suggestions we think would help.