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Spring Clean Your Affairs

By: Angela B. Kosar, Esquire
Spring is the time when we seem to stop and take stock; we file our tax returns and settle up the prior year’s tax debt; we spring clean our homes, ridding them of unwanted and unnecessary clutter.  But most of us do not take the time to spring clean our affairs.  What does that mean?  It means taking stock of your personal and financial situation and making the necessary changes and adjustments to get everything spic and span.

Here’s what spring cleaning your affairs should consist of:
1) A thorough review of your estate plan.  Do you have one?  If not, now is the time to get one.  If you have one, does it consist of all the important components:

  • A will – the document that allows you to determine who will inherit your assets when you pass away.  It also allows you to create trusts to protect assets, name a guardian for your children and name other trusted representatives for your estate;
  • A Living Will – the document that gives you a voice to make medical decisions while you are in a terminal condition.  This document allows you to choose whether you wish to have artificial life support if you are in a terminal condition;
  • A medical power of attorney or health care proxy – the document that allows others to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated;
  • A durable general power of attorney – the document that allows a trusted individual to make all other decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so.

If your estate plan is not up to snuff, give us a call and we can give it a good spring cleaning.
2) A thorough review of your life insurance situation.  Do you have it?  Do you have enough?  There are plenty of life insurance calculators online to help you answer these questions.  We can refer you to individuals who can help you with your life insurance needs as well.
3) A thorough review of your financial condition.  What are your financial needs and goals?  Are there steps you can take to help you meet them?  Is there room for improvement?  Again, there are online resources and calculators that can help you.  We can refer you to financial advisors who can help you as well. 
4) A thorough review of your credit reports.  Obtain copies of your credit reports from all 3 reporting agencies.  In most states, you are entitled to one free report from all 3 agencies each year.  Take advantage of this!  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain your copies.  Make sure that there are no errors on your reports and if there are, promptly have any errors corrected.  Especially in this economy, your credit should be taken seriously. 
Doing these four things should give a good spring cleaning to your affairs and give you some peace of mind to enjoy the rest of the year.  Happy cleaning!