How is Your Legal Health?

by rocketmatter-admin December 9, 2013

Staying in shape means more than physical well-being. Your legal health is also very important. If you keep legally fit, you can avoid problems that could be very costly in terms of your time and money. Here are a tips on how to get legally healthy and stop problems before they start.
It you want to stay legally healthy you should take special care with documents by:

  • reading them carefully before you sign
  • asking for an explanation of anything you don’t understand
  • keeping copies
  • putting all important agreements or contracts in writing
  • using certified mail for important documents so you can prove that you sent them
  • keeping documents like wills and trusts up-to-date by reviewing them after a marriage, certified domestic partnership, divorce, birth or death

You should use a bank safe deposit box to store documents that you rarely use such as:

  • automobile ownership certificate
  • birth certificate
  • divorce (dissolution) papers
  • grant deed and policy of title insurance
  • life insurance policy
  • marriage license
  • naturalization papers
  • passport
  • will and trusts

You should keep for at least six years such papers as:

  • agreements, loan papers and similar documents
  • bank statements and cancelled checks
  • copies of income tax returns (bad debt or worthless securities deductions – 7
  • years)
  • insurance policies, including auto, homeowners and public liability
  • real estate tax bills

In case of theft or fire, you should keep in a safe place a list of personal property, including:

  • descriptions of the property
  • identification numbers
  • receipts
  • photos

You should get and keep receipts for:

  • rent payments, if you pay in cash
  • most purchases or payments

Your legal health will also will improve if you:

  • make a will once you are 18-years-old
  • make and keep notes on important conversations, especially if you talk about money, agreements or property
  • pay attention to any legal notices or demands you receive
  • get help for problems instead of ignoring them

Fred Abramson is a New York based attorney specializing in business law and litigation. In addition to advising small busi­ness own­ers, he has suc­cess­fully rep­re­sented a range of New York com­pa­nies, from non-profits to exec­u­tive search firms. You can find him on Twitter: @fredabramson, or check out his website and blog.
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