experience & dedication...

Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

Back to Articles of Interest

The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: Legal Tips for the New Year 2012

January 4, 2012

At the beginning of each year, I write an article providing suggestions that you can take to provide legal security for you and your family. This is not an exhaustive list, but contains legal suggestions that everyone -- married, single, parent, grand parent, friend, uncle/aunt, etc. -- should consider.
Write a Will/Estate Planning: My very first article for this column over five years ago involved the importance of drafting a will and other estate planning documents. Estate planning remains my number one legal recommendation for review at the beginning of each year. You should create or review your will and power of attorney documents to ensure that the documents are precisely how you want them to be. Who will be making health care decisions for you if you are unable? Who do you want to take care of your children if you should pass away? How do you want your assets divided? While nobody enjoys thinking about estate planning, it is absolutely critical. In the best case scenario, you should do it while you are healthy. Ensuring that your intent is clear and that the documents are prepared correctly is one of the best ways to provide for your family both at present and in the future.
Review your financial situation: Another very important task to do at the beginning of each year is to review your finances. Review your debts. Review your assets. If you are in a good position financially, you should consider whether your assets are allocated properly. Are you nearing retirement or just beginning your career? The stage that you are in life, as well as your tolerance for risk, will influence the asset allocation decisions that you make.
On the other hand, if you are struggling to pay your bills, it is even more important to review your finances. There may be ways to negotiate with creditors to alleviate the amount that you pay each month or to lower your interest rate. The most important thing is not to ignore your debts. If you have debts that you cannot realistically pay, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. This will enable you to stop creditors from calling and may enable you to discharge your debt entirely.
Evaluate your current mortgage: For most people, their home is their largest and most treasured asset. You should look at your mortgage obligation carefully. Are you having difficulty making payments? Can you refinance to take advantage of low rates? Mortgage companies continue to work with homeowners more than ever before. While banks have become much more careful with how they extend credit, many mortgage companies have no desire to foreclose on homeowners, and are willing to work with homeowners to rectify a delinquent mortgage.
Family law issues: Family law issues are often the most unpleasant legal issues when things go wrong. However, there are ways to prevent, or at least mitigate the difficulties. If you will be getting married in the next year, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements especially make sense for people who are getting married for the second time and who have children from a first marriage.
If you are divorced or separated, you should review the court documents to ensure that there has been no change in your circumstances and that all of the payment information is correct (i.e. child support, alimony, etc.). In addition, you should make sure that all of your custody times and arrangements are in order for the upcoming year.
Everyone’s legal and financial situation is different. The above listed items are just a few examples of things that should be reviewed. You may have other legal issues that require attention. Over the next several months, I will write new articles providing more details on some of the topics listed above. However, reviewing your legal, financial and personal information at the beginning of the year is extremely important and can prevent unnecessary stress and costs in the coming year. A simple review enables you to determine where you are at present and how to best plan for the future.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

Back to Articles of Interest

By: Edward D. Alkalay