Sarah Stewart Legal Group, PLLC

Caring, Honest, Solutions to Your Legal Needs at Affordable Rates.

Month: December 2018

This Holiday Season Give Your Family the Gift of Planning

By Sarah Stewart Legal Group, PLLC

Many people look at estate planning as an unwanted necessity. When you think of the holidays, silver bells, snow, and family come to mind.  I’m willing to bet the last thing on your mind is estate planning.

I’d like to challenge you to change your perspective this Holiday Season.  Though an estate plan may not be the sexiest gift to give your family, it is certainly one of the most practical!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

If you have ever had to be involved in the court procedure to transfer assets of a deceased family member (probate), you know how exhausting, complicated, and uncomfortable a task it is to try to navigate the court system while grieving.

Also, if you don’t have the proper documents in place, the Court may choose for you who gets what.  Did you know that in Oklahoma, if you have children, your spouse is only entitled to 1/2 of your assets that aren’t jointly owned when you die?  If your children are from another relationship, that percentage could be even less.  Is that what you want for your spouse?

Preparing your own estate plan for probate avoidance gives your family the gift of peace and security, for years to come. Moreover, advanced preparation will allow your family to access funds to plan your funeral services and pay final expenses for you without having to come out of pocket for those bills themselves.

Such a wonderful gift for your loved ones, who have their own financial concerns, or your spouse who’s struggling to pay all the bills after your death, not to have to worry about your finances as well!

By giving the gift of estate planning to your family, you are offering to continue to help care for them despite not being able to physically be there.

Gifting for Tax Purposes

The government allows an individual to get tax deductions for giving gifts to others during the individual’s lifetime, including charitable organizations. Speak to your financial, legal, and tax advisors to find the best way to offer lifetime gifts to others over the holidays.

Look for the Helpers

When making an estate plan, you have a lot of considerations and decisions to make.  Your trusted financial, legal, and tax advisors can come together to formulate the right plan to suit your needs and goals.  Reach out to your trusted advisors today to give your family the gift of security and peace of mind this year!

6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Your Greatest Liability- Your Vehicle

By: Sarah Stewart Legal Group, PLLC

The National Safety Council estimates that 4.57 million people were injured in automobile accidents in 2017. And more than 40,000 people died from car crashes. With such high numbers, the odds of someone in your household getting into an accident are pretty high.

Liability for auto accidents can bankrupt the person at fault, or the person who owns the vehicle in the crash.  So, how can you protect yourself from liability for your automobiles?

(1) Don’t Put Your Name on a Vehicle You’re Not Driving

If you buy a vehicle for your child, who is over the age of 18, put the vehicle in his or her name.  If you loaned your child money to buy the car, you can place a lien on the car for repayment.  Consider titling vehicles in limited liability companies, or the name of a spouse who has fewer assets.

If a vehicle is in a crash, the other party will sue the owner of the vehicle.  They can only recover assets owned by the titled owner. So, placing automobile titles in the names of the drivers can limit your liability for accidents of your family members.

(2) Be Careful With Minor Drivers

If your driving children are under the age of 18, you can be sued for accidents they cause. Umbrella insurance plans can help alleviate some of the liability, but they, alone, may not be enough. Be sure that your children are responsible enough, and properly trained, to get behind the wheel before you let them drive.

(3) Protect Assets with a Plan

Anyone who owns assets should have a plan to protect them.  The complexity of that plan will depend on how many assets you own.  Make sure you have an estate plan and a plan to protect your assets.

You could own several businesses to limit liability, or title properties into the names of different spouses.  The planning possibilities can be limitless.  So, reach out to a trusted professional to help.

(4) Get Insurance

Be sure your umbrella policies address your business driving needs and cover others who may drive your vehicle.  You will want to have enough insurance to cover your assets.  So, if you have more assets, you will need more coverage. For minors, elderly, and those with mental or physical disabilities, consider higher coverage amounts.

Be aware that coverage does not include illegal situations.  Illegal situations can include drivers who are not listed driving the car and automobiles that were not listed in the coverage.

(5) Get Treatment Immediately

If you’re in an accident, don’t wait too long to seek medical attention.  Health problems that could be avoided with treatment can become far worse if left untreated too long. When you hit your head or have a broken bone, rush to your closest clinic or Emergency Room for treatment.

(6) Get Witness Information

If you are in an accident, be sure to get the names and contact info of any witnesses. If you can’t get names and phone numbers, take pictures of the license plates.  You will want to share this information with your insurance provider and attorney when the time comes.

Chances of you or someone in your household getting into a car wreck are high.  Make sure you and your family are protected.

 

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