Someone accidently slips and falls on your property or you get involved in an accident a jury may end up awarding millions of dollars against you. Examples: a dog bite case in Maryland for $5.9 million; an Internet bulletin board defamation lawsuit for $11.3 million; automobile accidents including a $21 million verdict in Texas and a $49 million verdict in California.[ii]
And then there’s the startling fact that “More than 1 out of 2 Americans die without a will or adequate estate planning.”[iii] Seemingly, it appears uncommon for Americans to have a Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Directive or any other legal documents that will effectively protect themselves and/or their estate in the event of injury, sickness, mental incompetence, divorce, lawsuit, death or death of a spouse or any other calamity.
Many notions as to why these facts are true have been ventured but perhaps the biggest reason is that most people don’t understand risk. Every time you drive in your car you are only three feet away from death or a lawsuit that is waiting to happen. And so to protect your assets, your estate and your business you need to avoid risk.
The most important risk avoidance factor is adequate insurance coverage. This includes auto, home, umbrella, life, and key person insurance polices. But risk avoidance also includes having legal documents prepared and up to date.
Many years ago someone mentioned to me that everybody has a Will. “Either you have a Will that you prepared and designed yourself or you have a Will the State you live in has prepared for you and your estate.” This statement seems to hold a lot of truth.
Avoiding risk is not necessarily true to human nature. The idea that “I have plenty of time” or “It won’t happen to me” keeps people from doing what is necessary to protect themselves and family. But “To procrastinate and prevaricate…seems to me almost to run counter to love. To delay or fail to make decisions may be more damaging than to make wrong decisions out of faith and love.”[iv]
Finally, nearly 50% of Americans do have some sort of insurance beyond what is required by auto and home ownership. They also have a will or some form of estate planning documents that may or may not be up to date or complete. All this really means though is you may be worse off than if you had nothing at all to protect your assets, estate and business. Think of the Will and Durable Power of Attorney that has never been authorized by your bank. Your POA will have a hard time carrying out anything that you desired them to when the time comes that your Durable Power of Attorney kicks in. This is true with a Trust, insurance policies and other legal documents like corporate documents, partnership documents and limited liability documents. Dated or outdated, incomplete or underfunded legal documents could end up being your worst nightmare.
That is why document reviews are critical to your Asset, Estate and Business Protection. Wretchedly, these reviews can become costly if you always have to pay your attorney to complete them every 2 to 3 years or every time you move, have a child, get a divorce, have a death in the family or have a change in business.
Fortunately, Life Benefits is offering a FREE complimentary review for those who want to make sure the documents you do have are up to date and still reflect your true intentions and protect your best interests. These reviews are performed by qualified attorney’s who understand asset protection and estate planning and even though they can not advise you legally they can point out things that you may want to have clarified or altered so that your best interests and intentions are honored and reflected in your documentation.
And for the more than 50% of you who don’t have any legal documents or asset protection in place we have good news for you too.
Regardless of your need, new documentation or review of existing documentation simply contact our office and find out if you qualify for this service we offer. It’s really just that simple.
P.S. For business owners Life Benefits extends a FREE complimentary review of your business documents including corporate documents, limited liability documents, partnership documents, buy-sell agreements, etc. because there is no sense in assuming the risk of NOT having things in order.
[iii] American Bar Association http://www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/estate_planning/estate_planning_faq.html
[iv] Dietrich Bonheoffer a victim of the Nazis Holocaust