7 Times When You Need A Lawyer

The Year of MMXX.

Make Your Plans Now

Is 2020 going to be a great year or what?   We can look forward to the census, a presidential election and a Congress incentivized to pass crowd-pleasing legislation.  Thank goodness it is a leap year so we get an extra day to figure it all out.

Let us turn for a moment from the national scene and welcome in MMXX by taking stock of your personal planning.

If you are on the wrong side of 18 and competent, then you should by now have in place a willdurable power of attorneymedical power of attorney, HIPAA release, directive to physicians, declaration of guardian and appointment for disposition of remains.  If you do not have those documents, then you need to see a lawyer ASAP and get them in place. This is especially true if you plan to do an activity that is intrinsically hazardous, such as traveling on Central Expressway.

All of the foregoing documents are state-specific. If your existing documents are not sourced from the state of your current residence, then you need to check in with a lawyer to see if the documents should be changed.  Yes, this applies to all of you people who had the wisdom to move to Texas to escape from states that experience arctic air, hurricanes, or personal income-tax. While we may like you, we most assuredly will not like your foreign-based documents.

When Do You Need To See A Lawyer?

If you have an estate plan that contemplates a beneficiary or trust qualifying for the stretch on your IRA, then you need to immediately see a lawyer to review how recent changes in the federal law may impact your plan.

If you have an IRA and the previous sentence was complete gibberish to you, then you need to see a lawyer to explain it.

If you or your named beneficiary has had a recent significant event concerning an off-spring, such as birth, adoption or termination of parental rights of a child, then you need to see a lawyer to make sure your documents properly cover that event.

If you have had a falling out with a beneficiary, inherited a lot of money, sold your dot-com, had a change in marital status, invested in bitcoins, started a business, received a diagnosis of a dread disease, been named as trustee or executor, or bought more than $100 in I-Tunes gift cards to send to those nice people who called you out of the blue, then you need to see a lawyer to discuss the impact on your estate plan.

If someone you named as a financial or medical agent died, filed bankruptcy, is related to your ex-spouse (excepting your mutual children), is suing or being sued by you, or has been indicted or convicted of  fraud, assault or murder (not your own), then you need to see a lawyer to draft documents that remove that agent and designate a new agent.

And if you are still trying to figure out what “MMXX” means, then you need to see a 5th -grade teacher.