Ultimate Child Guide

The Ultimate Child Guide is NOW Available!

The Ultimate Child Guide is NOW Available!

Are you tired of scrambling to jot down your child’s important information every time you need a babysitter or caregiver?  Do you worry about leaving your little one in someone else’s care without providing all the necessary details?  What about staying at your in-laws??

Stress-free nights away from your children are officially here!

We understand the challenges of parenting in today’s fast-paced world.  That is why we’re beyond thrilled to introduce the Ultimate Child Guide – a comprehensive workbook to organize all your child’s vital information in one place.

It is a great resource to alleviate all your uncertainties during overnight visits, going out to dinner leaving a babysitter at home, or even at daycare.  The Ultimate Child Guide is a go-to booklet containing all of the important information regarding the little one in your life.

It Is In the Details

From schedules, routines, easy breezy school drop offs, babysitter pickups, and do’s and don’ts to allergies, pediatrician numbers, and emergency protocols, enjoy peace of mind that your child’s caregiver has all of the relevant critical information at their fingertips.  Dedicated booklets for each child ensures that no detail big or small is overlooked.  Whether it’s picky eating, a special stuffed animal, or critical medical information.

Discover the confidence that comes with having clear information for each of your children in one dedicated, easy to follow place. Simply pack it away in your child’s overnight bag for a trip to Grandma’s house, or give it to a trusted teacher on the first day of school!

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What are People Saying?

What an amazing idea to help out parents! I don’t know how many times I’ve grabbed a random sheet of paper and scrawled down bits and pieces of the nighttime routine and important phone numbers, all while the babysitter was about to walk in the door. Inevitably I always forget something, or at least worry that I did. The Ultimate Child Guide is a perfect way to avoid that frantic preparation and worry. This way, I can take my time recording information about caring for my child, so I can rest assured everything a caregiver would need to know is all stored in one place. 10/10. – Melinda

Received the Legally Speaking Life Ultimate Child Guide and love it. The book has several sections I had not even thought of. It is easy to use, and super convenient! This solves my problem having to write down the same information over and over again. I keep everything in one place with the Ultimate Child guide and feel much more comfortable leaving my girls with a baby sitter or sending them to a sleep over. I have seen other guides, but not nearly as thorough. Very glad I got this. – Aaron

This workbook is so simple and easy to fill in then hand over to my parents when they take care of my kids! Especially the schedules and allergies / food sections are helpful. I added what they like, what they don’t, also important numbers and situations. My daughter has type 1 diabetes so I especially love the medical section where we can add notes / what to do and add important doctor phone numbers and contact. My kids are about to spend a weekend with the grandparents while we go to a wedding and feeling so much more at ease knowing they’ll have all this info easily at their fingertips! – Marianne

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Get it now!  Click below to get yours!

Workbook

Binder

 

 

How to get an appointment to make a will and a plan

How Do I Get an Appointment to Create a Will and a Plan?

It is easy to get an appointment with us, but we need you to do a little work before our meeting.

Step 1

Complete our free Initial Will Questionnaire.  Call (504) 766-6786 to request a digital copy for free!!

Then, you can:

  • Type directly in the Word document, or
  • Print and fill it out by hand

Step 2

Call and schedule a time to come in with your completed questionnaire and review your wishes.

Our simple estate planning package ($750) includes:

  • A simple will
  • A power of attorney
  • A medical power of attorney
  • A living will
  • One Ultimate Life Binder (to store important information)

Want the Ultimate Life Binder now?  Click the link to start.

Want to learn more about the general information that will be collected in the Initial Will Questionnaire?  Take a look here.

5 things baby boomers should include in their will

5 Things for Baby Boomers to Include in Their Wills

What are 5 things Baby Boomers should include in their will?

Creating a will is an important part of estate planning for Baby Boomers. While the specifics of what should be included can vary based on individual circumstances, here are five common elements that ChatGPT states Baby Boomers should consider including:

Beneficiary Designations

Baby Boomers should clearly specify who will inherit their assets, including financial accounts, real estate, vehicles, and personal possessions.  This can include family members, friends, charities, or other organizations.

Executor Selection

Baby Boomers should appoint an executor to carry out the instructions outlined in their will. This person will be responsible for managing the estate, paying debts and taxes, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and handling any legal proceedings that may arise.

Guardianship of Minor Children

For Baby Boomers who have minor children or grandchildren, it’s crucial to designate guardianship in their will. This ensures that there’s a plan in place for the care and upbringing of any dependents in the event of their passing.

Special Instructions or Wishes

Baby Boomers may want to include any specific instructions or wishes they have regarding their estate or personal affairs. This could include preferences for funeral arrangements, the distribution of sentimental items, or the establishment of trusts for specific purposes, such as education or charitable giving.

Digital Assets and Online Accounts

In today’s digital age, it’s important to address digital assets and online accounts in a will. Baby Boomers should provide instructions for accessing and managing digital assets, such as email accounts, social media profiles, cryptocurrency holdings, and digital photo libraries, as well as any wishes regarding their disposition or transfer.

It’s essential for Baby Boomers to consult with legal and financial professionals when drafting their will to ensure that it accurately reflects their wishes and complies with applicable laws and regulations.  Additionally, wills should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any changes in circumstances or preferences.

Next Steps

While ChatGPT is great – and fun to use, there is no substitute for legal guidance when creating such an important document.  Our first suggestion is to begin collecting information on your family and also collecting information on yourself in the Ultimate Life Binder.

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Information Needed to Prepare Your Will – A Starting Point

Information Needed to Prepare Your Will – A Starting Point

How to Begin

For many people, thinking about writing a will can be difficult – and unpleasant!  But the first step is starting the process.  Frustrated clients often ask questions like these:

  • “Where do I begin?”
  • “What do I need to think about?”
  • “What information do I need to gather?”
  • “Why does the process seem so cryptic?”

With more than 65 years combined experience, we have some ideas to help you.

In the office, we have a questionnaire that helps clients begin organizing information needed by us to help create a will.  Many of the questions lead to follow up questions.  Then, that is when we meet and collect even more information in order to provide the best counsel possible.

To give you an idea of what we ask, here is a list of questions and requested information that help begin the process of crafting a will.  Legal documents require details, and we have tried to lay out some of the needed details in simple terms.  Take a look and let us know what you think!

Personal Information

Obviously we need information on you so we can identify you and include that information in the will.

  • Name on birth certificate
  • Any other names used
  • Physical Address and Mailing Address
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Date of Birth
  • Email
  • Social Security Number
  • Copy of Government Issued Photo Identification

 

Marital Information

We need marital information in community property states to address actions you wish to happen in your will.

  • Are you currently married?
  • Have you been married in the past?
  • Married more than once?  We will need name on birth certificate for each spouse and how the marriage ended.  For example: death, divorce, annulment.
  • If a spouse died while you were married to that spouse, then we would want to collect information on that death and any succession that was completed.

 

Information on Children

We collect information on your children so that information can be used in the preparation of your will.  Louisiana has specific laws for children and we want to address your wishes correctly.

  • Men – were you the father of any children?
  • Women – have you had any children?
  • If you have had children, then we will want more information.
  • Name of each child as shown on the birth certificate.
  • Contact information for each child – address, telephone numbers, emails
  • Last four of each child’s social security number
  • Date of birth for each child
  • Do any of them have mental or physical incapacity
  • The other parent’s name for each child
  • Have you ever adopted any children?
  • Have you ever been adopted?
  • If you have any children who have predeceased you, we will want to collect information on that child.

 

Property

Property could make up a lot of your assets that you want to transfer to your loved ones.  It is important to have accurate information on your property to avoid problems in the future.

  • Do you own any real estate?  For example, your home, a portion of your parents’ home, a rental property owned by you and someone else.
  • If so, we will need municipal address and parishes where it is located and the name of any co-owners.
  • Do you have a checking account?  Savings account?  Money Market accounts? Are these owned separately?  Jointly?  If jointly, who is the other owner.
  • Do you own investments or securities (stocks, bonds, etc…)
  • Do you have retirement savings, like a 401(k), an IRA, pension?
  • Were you in the armed services?
  • Do you own a vehicle?  Individually or with someone else?

 

Other Family/Business

We try to look at all of your circumstances to provide our best advice.  The following questions will help us understand your situation more fully.

  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?  If yes, are they alive or deceased?
  • Any brothers or sisters who have died? Age at death?
  • Do you own your own business?  Or own an interest in another business venture?

 

Executor

An executor is the person who will close bank accounts, change utility names, transfer title to vehicles and generally work with an attorney to ensure all matters in connection with your succession are taken care of properly.

This topic can really cause people a lot of heartache.  People don’t want to choose one child over another or create hard feelings among children.  But, consider who has time to help, who lives nearby, who is responsible.  And, a lot of times people choose executors other than their children.  It is really personal.  If needed, we can help.

  • Who would you like to be your executor?
  • Please name a second person to act as your executor if the first person cannot serve as executor.

 

Burial and Other

  • Do you have any special burial/funeral requests?
  • Do you want to request a specific religious service for your funeral?
  • Do you want to be an organ donor?
  • Do you want to donate your body to science?

 

Finally

Who do you want to leave things to?

Please prepare a list of what you would like each of your legatees to receive.  This can be in proportions, like ½ to son, ½ to daughter, or it can be $25,000 to son, the rest to daughter, or you can itemize property going to each person.  However you want to make a list is great!

Great Starting Point – Ready for More?

This is a great place to start.  With answers to all of these questions, you will be prepared to continue on the journey of writing a last will and testament.  Get started and let us know if you would like to make an appointment once you have all of this information collected.  Also, the Ultimate Life Binder is an excellent resource to organize yourself and your family.

 

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Glossary of Simple Real Estate Terms

Simple definitions of some basic terms associated with a real estate transaction.

Closing

“Closing” is a word commonly used to describe the scheduled time for buyer and seller to meet and complete the transaction of transferring property.  Generally, at a closing, the buyer and seller execute all documents necessary to transfer property, the buyer executes all documents required for the lender to approve the disbursement of its loaned money, and the escrow agent (Monarch Title, L.L.C.) collects and disburses all funds in connection with the transaction.

 

Conveyance Office

The Conveyance Office is part of the Clerk of Court’s offices.  It charged with maintaining documents reflecting real estate transactions.

 

Encumbrance

Encumbrances are judgments, liens, mortgages and any document filed in the public records affecting a property or a buyer or seller.

 

Escrow Agent

The escrow agent is the company that is insured to provide services of collecting and dispersing all funds in connection with a closing.  Monarch Title, L.L.C., our in-house escrow agency, works from the lender’s Closing Disclosure to know exactly how much to collect and how much to pay out on behalf of individuals and companies.

 

Closing Disclosure

The Closing Disclosure (or “CD”) is a document showing loan terms, from where all money is collected, and to whom all money is distributed.  It also includes information on each party, the lender and the property.  It is a government form that can be a little confusing to review.

 

Mortgage Office

The Mortgage Office is part of the Clerk of Court’s offices.  It is charged with maintaining documents reflecting liens, mortgages and judgments against persons or real property.

 

Owner’s Title Insurance

Owner’s Title Insurance is an insurance policy protecting the owner of a property against a loss should the condition of title to land be other than as insured.  Under standard coverage, insured  risks include: forgery and impersonation; lack of competency, capacity or legal authority of a party; sale not executed by a necessary party (co-owner, heir, spouse, corporate officer, or business partner); undisclosed (but recorded) prior mortgage or lien; undisclosed (but recorded) easement or use restriction; erroneous or inadequate legal descriptions; lack of a right of access; and sale not properly recorded.

Estate Planning - Collecting Important Documents

Estate Planning – Collecting Important Documents

Estate Planning – Collecting Important Documents

Important Documents

When we are helping clients with estate planning, one of the first questions we are asked is, “What do I need to keep track of?” Next, they ask, “How do I organize it all?”

After years of helping clients, we have some insight and suggestions.

What are important documents?

Important documents are similar to what is kept in your safety deposit box. But, these documents are generally not hard-to-get originals. The documents contain information that you may need access to easily and quickly. And, you don’t want to have to search for them when you need them in a hurry.

Think insurance documents that contain policy numbers and telephone numbers. For example, insurance for your home, life, vehicles, pets, Medicare, prescription, vision, dental, burial. Also, for your financial accounts. Not only the names of the institutions, but also account numbers, types, and contact information.

Ownership documents for your home, vehicles, antiques.

Contacts for family, friends, medical, professional.

Copies of vital records like your passport, immunizations, birth and marriage documents, military service, education transcripts. And of course, powers of attorney, your will, organ donation, and more.

Plus, if you have a business, documents showing ownership of that business.

Why would I need these documents?

First, knowing all of your important documents are together in one place is smart. It gives you and your loved ones peace of mind knowing you are organized. Second, they can be easily transported together if necessary for an emergency. Third, in case of an emergency, a hospital stay, or an accident, it is hard to remember where to find important documents that may be needed for you, a spouse, a parent, or a loved one. Fourth, you may want to share the location of these documents with the person who has your power of attorney, a child, or caretaker.

Where would I keep all of these things?

Keep your important documents together in one place. And, not a junk drawer. We created the Ultimate Life Binder, which you can get here, to help people organize themselves. The workbook is easy to complete. Some people have taken it apart and created a three-ring binder with the pages of the book and copies of documents and statements.

DON’T BE OVERWHELMED!

That is the first advice we give. It is a lot. But, take it slow and methodically collect your important documents using the Ultimate Life Binder.

Bank vault with safety deposit boxes.

What do I keep in my Safety Deposit Box?

What do I keep in my safety deposit box?

This is a question we get all the time.  Our suggestion is important documents that are difficult, time consuming, or costly to replace.  Many times these items are available elsewhere, but can require a lot of time and effort to obtain.

  • Original Last Will and Testament, if your attorney is not keeping it on file.
  • Original Deeds for Real Estate, if your state provides purchasers with original deeds
  • Certificates of securities (actual stock certificates)
  • Certified copies of birth certificates/adoption records
  • Certified copies of marriage and divorce records
  • Original marriage licenses/certificates
  • Military discharge and service records
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Death certificates for very close relatives, or if you are working as the administrator of an estate
  • Social Security Cards
  • Government bonds – for example, a savings bond
  • Titles to automobiles currently owned
  • Actual copies of policies of insurance – life, long-term care, burial … Yes, you can get copies, but if you need it quickly, it may be easier to have it in the safety deposit box
  • Important contracts
  • Notes payable to you, (for example, your brother-in-law borrowed $10,000 from you and you had him sign a note to repay that loan)

And, you may want to keep certain things from your family that you never want to be in danger of destruction/theft.  Important jewelry, letters from long ago that are important to you, in bigger safety deposit boxes, some families keep silver.

Ready to start on your estate plan?  Then, contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Or, you can also begin collecting information on your own with the Ultimate Life Binder.

 

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Top 5 Excuses for Not Making a Will

Top 5 Excuses for Not Making a Will

These are what we hear as the top 5 excuses for not making a will.  And, they are all terrible for you and your family!!!

5.  It is too complicated
4.  I’m married, won’t my spouse get everything?
3.  I don’t own anything
2.  I told everyone what I want to happen
1.  I don’t have enough time

Why are the top 5 excuses terrible for your family??

5.  Making a will does not have to be complicated. We are here to help make the process easier.  With our questions and interaction, we can help focus your energy to collect your thoughts, write down your wishes, and then let us create the legal means to turn your wishes into a will.

4.  Without a will, and with children, Louisiana law provides that your spouse does not inherit your portion of property, your children do. Even if they are from a different marriage.  Yep.  That is correct. Grown children and a young new spouse who you bought a house with?  Split ownership is the result of Louisiana law protecting your children from whatever marriage.

3.  Do you own a vehicle? Have a bank account?  If you answered yes to either of these, then you need a will – as simple as that.  Do your family a favor and potentially stop making life after you difficult for them, write a will.

2.  Telling everyone what you want and $1.50 will maybe get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds. In Louisiana, telling your family your wishes does not fit into the two categories of acceptable forms of wills.  Potentially your family could honor your verbal wishes, but someone will remember your words differently than another family member, and you can image what happens at that point…. Not much good.  Create a will in a form recognized by Louisiana law.

1.  Everyone is busy. Taking care of your family (ie. writing a will) is going to take a little time, but put your family first.  And, potentially save your family from weeks, months, or years of heartache dealing with your stuff!

Do your family a favor, WRITE A WILL!

Most common mistake in self preparation of will

Wills – Most Common Mistake

In 65+ years of combined experience, the most common mistake we see is a person typing their own will, then signing, then having the signature notarized.

Unless a will like that meets the specific Louisiana requirements, this type of will is invalid.  Generally, when we have seen these self-created, or internet obtained form wills, they do not meet the  Louisiana requirements.

An invalid will most likely means that the laws of the State of Louisiana will govern the disposition of the deceased’s assets.  Of course, if everyone agrees to what was in the invalid will, we have strategies to make help assist in the succession process.  But, if one heir refuses to agree, then the entire process can become an involved, drawn out, and expensive legal proceeding that will cost much more than if the will would have been prepared in valid form.

Note:  Louisiana law has been exceedingly clear that the form required by law must be followed exactly, or the testament will be declared invalid.

To know the Louisiana law, consider the following:

Louisiana provides for two types of valid wills (or “testament” is the legal word for it):

  1. Olographic
  2. Notarial

Olographic:  Louisiana Civil Code Art. 1575 provides in part that, “An olographic testament is one entirely written, dated, and signed in the handwriting of the testator.”  Think of a piece of notebook paper with handwriting on it from the person who has died.  Yes, this is completely valid as long as it includes all of the necessary requirements.

Notarial:  Louisiana Civil Code Art. 1577 provides,

Requirements of form

The notarial testament shall be prepared in writing and dated and shall be executed in the following manner.  If the testator knows how to sign his name and to read and is physically able to do both, then:

(1)  In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses, the testator shall declare or signify to them that the instrument is his testament and shall sign his name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page.

(2)  In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses shall sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar:  “In our presence the testator has declared or signified that this instrument is his testament and has signed it at the end and on each other separate page, and in the presence of the testator and each other we have hereunto subscribed our names this ____day of _________, ____.”

Only these two forms are even considered for validation in Louisiana.  And, either form may seem simple, but the details have caused many wills to be tossed by a court resulting in the Louisiana intestate succession law to govern the succession.  (Intestate means the deceased died without a last will and testament.  Even if there was a last will and testament prepared, if it is invalid, then the state treats that last will and testament as if it never existed.)

This is serious!

If you want a valid testament declaring your final wishes for transferring your assets to your loved ones, trust Jane and Scott to help you along the way.

Avoid these 3 new scams

Avoiding 3 New Scams

Scams are a constant threat!  The scammers get more and more sophisticated, develop new devious plans, and are relentless.  Here are 3 new ones to be aware of and to make your extended family aware of:

  1. Eastern European Mistake Call
    Someone’s grandmother recently received a call from someone who “mistakenly” dialed her. Rather than hang up, the nice young lady struck up an hour-long conversation! After multiple additional calls, this nice young lady tried to get the grandmother to call her via What’s App. Family members found out when the grandmother started asking young relatives how to make a What’s App call. The family immediately stopped this, over the grandmother’s protests. After looking into it further, these calls continue for about a month, then invariably the young lady has a sick child and needs money which her new “friend” will send!
  2. Impersonating a Bank Rep
    Always be wary of a banker contacting you.  Recently someone impersonating a bank employee telephoned a client asking for confidential or secure information to verify purchases.  This could also happen through email or text – beware.  Bank employees will never ask you to provide your account number, pin number, or social security number to verify purchases made by credit or debit cards.
  3. Do Not Trust Caller ID
    Scammers can compromise caller ID and appear as someone else on your device.  Do not trust caller ID, especially if it is a bank or credit card asking for account information.  Hang up.  Then, if you believe it was from your bank, lender, or credit card company, find the company’s telephone number from a past statement, and use that number to call the company back.

Be careful, be wary, and ask you your family and friends to do the same.