How to Create a Will

If you read our article last month about the importance of creating a will, you may be wondering how to get started. A will is designed to help you establish a plan for your assets after your death. Though it’s not necessarily a complicated process, it is vital that your will is prepared correctly or it won’t be valid. We suggest beginning here:

  • Compile a list of your assets and debts. Include real estate, sentimental and heirloom items, safe deposit boxes, and bank accounts.
  • Decide how you would like your assets distributed. Who gets what, how much, and when. For example, you could specify that certain assets only go to your children once they are of age.
  • Choose an executor. This should be a trustworthy person that you can depend on to carry our your wishes.
  • Once you have this information, schedule an appointment with an attorney with extensive experience in wills. Your attorney will help put this information into an enforceable legal document. He will make recommendations and look for ways to save money and prevent hardship on your family.

If you are ready to start discussing your last wishes, contact The Jaeger Firm. We have a questionnaire that may assist you, and would be glad to assist in making your planning as painless as possible.

New Years Resolution: Creating or Updating a Will

Most Americans would rather get a root canal or do their taxes than prepare a will. And while we understand that laying out your final wishes can be difficult, it’s probably not as miserable as you might imagine. More importantly, having a will can save your loved ones considerable time, money, and distress.

If you already have a will, you know that the process is not overly complicated or painful. However, a will isn’t something you set up and never look at again, it needs to be reviewed. We recommend reviewing your will annually to see if anything had changed. Your assets, preferences, and relationships change quickly and your will needs to reflect that information.

A will is a legal document laying out your wishes about the distribution of your assets in the event of your death. Without a will, the local courts will distribute your assets according to state regulations and their discretion. Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad to you; why do I need a will?

A significant reason to create a will is to save money. Yes, a will may cost you a little bit up front, but in the long run, it can save your estate thousands of dollars. A qualified attorney will help you write your will in such a way to minimize the amount of taxes taken out of your estate.

Establishing a plan for your assets also allows you to determine who gets what. You may want to set aside specific assets for specific people, ensure your children are well cared for, or even omit a family member you don’t get along with.

Lastly, as unfathomable as it may be, your estate could cause division within your family. If you pass away without a will, your family members will have a chance to argue to the court how much they should receive. This process is not only difficult during a time of mourning, it can also cause hurt feelings and broken relationships.

To update, review, or create a will, we recommend sitting down with an experienced attorney who can help you. Contact us today to start the New Year off well.

What to Do The First 24 Hours After You Have Been Accused of a Crime

Being accused of a crime can be a frightening experience. When we are stressed or frightened, we’re most in danger of making mistakes or operating under poor judgment—especially during the first 24 hours when we’re most in shock about the situation and least sure of the potential outcomes.

Rather than panic, it’s essential for you to stay calm and think clearly during the first few days after being accused of a crime.

These are a few things you should do immediately after formally being accused of a crime:

1. Contact a lawyer. A legal team can help you navigate the judicial system, make clear-headed decisions about your situation, and help you understand your rights. A good legal team will stand behind you throughout the entire legal process, fighting for your rights and ensuring that you have the best defense possible.

2. Gather physical evidence related to the event. Collect anything related to the event in question as well as anything that you believe could help prove your innocence. Items to collect might include clothing, shoes, photographs, and videos. Each situation is unique, so you’ll have to use your best judgment. But even more importantly, do not destroy anything that you think may work against you if your case should go to court. Destroying potential evidence will actually work against you as it adds an unnecessary element of suspicion.

3. Collect documents and records related to the incident. If you have anything that could show that you were somewhere other than the scene of the crime, or legal or financial records that could help prove that you were not involved in the event, set those aside in a safe place. Documents could include letters, emails, financial records, legal documents, phone records, business documents, or GPS records. Again, each situation is unique, so if you think a document could be useful, set it aside and your legal team can help determine its value at a later date.

4. Write down what you remember. Your memory is best immediately after an event, so this is the perfect time to write down everything you remember about the incident. Make notes about the scene, witnesses, events, and anything of significance.

5. Witnesses are key. Make a list of anyone you know to have been at the scene of the event or who would have information about the incident. At this point, don’t worry about which side the witnesses may take, simply make a note of anyone you think might have information about the accusation or incident.

6. Avoid talking to your accuser. If at all possible, do not interact with the person accusing you of the crime or with any of the potential witnesses.

7. Don’t offer any information to law enforcement before engaging with a lawyer. Protect your rights by requesting a lawyer be present when you speak to law enforcement. You lawyer will alert you to questions that you legally are not required to answer.

8. Similarly, don’t submit to any testing before consulting a legal team. Consult legal council before you submit to a DNA test of give any kind of physical evidence, even if you believe you will benefit from the test.

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime in Kentucky, call our office for a consultation. We can help you handle this difficult situation and make sure your rights are protected in the process.