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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.

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The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: Legal Tips for the New Year 2011

January 14, 2011

At the beginning of each year, I write an article providing some preventive suggestions that you can take now to provide legal security for you and your family so that you do no have to face major issues down the line. This article is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but merely a checklist of some legal items that everyone should consider.
Review your finances: Finances and legal issues go hand in hand. You should make a practice of reviewing your financial documents at the beginning of each year to ensure that you are headed in the right direction. It does not matter whether you are wealthy or struggling, you should review both your assets and your debts. If you are in a good position financially, you should consider whether your assets are allocated properly.
Evaluate your current mortgage: Many people who are struggling financially make a major mistake and get behind on their mortgage rather than other debts. It is usually most important to pay your mortgage first if you have equity in your home. This is because your home and the equity that you have in it are generally protected from creditors and in bankruptcy.
If you are struggling to pay your bills and/or your mortgage, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. If you have debts that you cannot realistically pay, filing for bankruptcy will enable you to stop creditors from calling and may enable you to discharge your debt entirely.
Estate Planning: Create or review your will and power of attorney documents to ensure that the documents are accurate. This is especially important for parents with young children. Now is the time that you can control who will take care of your children if something should happen. Now is the time that you can control who will be making health care decisions for you if you are unable and how your assets will be divided. While making a will may not be fun, it is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to your family and friends. A will (and other estate planning documents) will ensure that your wishes are followed and can prevent some major family disputes.
In addition, you should review your insurance. Do you have all the insurance that you want? You may be able to obtain a better insurance rate through an umbrella policy wherein all of your insurance is through one company rather than spread out through a number of companies.
Consider any other legal issues that you may have: If you have been injured in an accident, you should consider contacting an attorney right away. This will prevent an insurance company from taking advantage of you and will ensure that you will meet any legal deadlines such as the statute of limitations.
If you are divorced or separated, you should review the court documents to ensure that all of the payments 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.
Taxes: Now is the time to start preparing for April 15. You can avoid needless headaches by getting your tax information in order. Employers are required to provide you with your W-2 by the end of this month. If you can file your taxes early, you should do so. If you are going to receive a refund, the quicker you get it, the better. At the very least, filing early will avoid needless aggravation come April.
While everyone’s legal situation is different, reviewing your important legal, financial and personal information at the beginning of the year is important. It 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.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay