New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year's Resolutions

Like many people, as we enter a new year, I like to give some thought to New Year’s resolutions, or statements of intention regarding those things I can do to improve both my life as well as those persons in my life that I care about during 2017.  And as for my clients, both past and present, I have several suggestions you may wish to consider in the coming year that may help you to better prepare for the uncertainties we all face in our lives.  This is my short list, which, while by no means exhaustive, hopefully offers you some things to consider doing for yourselves and your loved ones in 2017:

  • Execute Powers of Attorney for Healthcare and Finances: These legal documents are the least expensive and easiest way to insure that your wishes regarding healthcare and financial matters are taken care of efficiently and painlessly in the event you become unable, whether due to illness or mental incapacity, to make your own decisions about these issues in the future.  While there are other methods of having these types of matters taken care of for you in the event you become disabled, they are all much more expensive and time-consuming, and the person or persons making those decisions for you may not be the one or ones you would want deciding these issues.  Get these documents prepared for yourself, your spouse or significant other, and your parents or other relatives you care about.
  • Execute a Will: As most of you are aware, if you die without a will, the State has already made a will for you. However, it is rarely the case that the laws of descent and distribution enacted by your state legislature are what you would have wanted had you taken the time to think about these matters.
  • Review your automobile insurance policies and consider increasing the limits of your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  It is a fact that you are unable to dictate whether another driver who causes you injury in a motor vehicle collision maintains an adequate amount of liability insurance coverage to compensate you for your medical bills, wage loss and other damages you might sustain in a wreck.  In fact, there are still numerous individuals who operate motor vehicles on our roadways who are either uninsured or who maintain the statutory minimum liability insurance coverage required by state law.  In Illinois, for example, the minimum liability insurance limits allowed by law are $25,000 for any one individual injured in a motor vehicle collision, $50,000 total for all injuries sustained by all individuals in a collision, and $20,000 for property damage caused by an at-fault driver.  While having liability insurance with these minimum limits brings motorists into compliance with the compulsory liability insurance law, it is clear that these amounts are in many instances not enough to adequately compensate individuals who sustain even a moderately severe injury in a motor vehicle collision.
  • Review your homeowner’s insurance policy to determine whether you have adequate coverage in the event of a loss: At least annually, review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see whether all of your property would be covered in the event of a catastrophic loss.  Check limits of coverage for firearms, jewelry, electronic appliances, collectibles and other items in your home. Consult with your insurance agent if you have questions regarding adequacy of insurance coverage on these and other like items.

I wish you and yours a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

From, Bob Gregory