Saint Louis, MO (Vocus) September 15, 2009
An ounce of legal prevention is worth a pound of cure. Now is a good time to consider a legal check-up to prevent larger and possibly more expensive problems later. Here are some legal checkpoints to consider prepared by the attorneys at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM):
- Reach an understanding. Do not sign a document unless you understand it, agree to it, and receive a photocopy of what you signed.
- Consider future needs. Prepare a durable power of attorney so your family knows your wishes regarding medical treatment in the event you become incapacitated. A form is available on the Missouri Bar website http://www.mobar.org .
- Ignorance is not bliss. Do not ignore credit problems. If you are behind on mortgage, credit card or other loan payments, contact your creditor or lender.
- Be inquiring. Ask questions and demand answers, especially when closing on a mortgage.
- Avoid title trouble. Do not sign an automobile contract without seeing a title first. Remember: A car purchase can only be completed by transferring the title and delivering it to the buyer.
- Seek coverage. Review the coverage amounts and beneficiary designation on life insurance policies to ensure coverage is adequate and that your intended beneficiaries are correct.
- Be aware of your Social Security privileges. Remember that Social Security is exempt from most garnishments or attachments. Wage income normally can be garnished up to 10 percent for the head of the household and 25 percent for a single person.
- Be an educated consumer. Do business with a longstanding company, not one oozing red ink. It will improve your chances that any consumer warranties will be honored.
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri provides civil legal assistance to low income persons. If you are interested in interviewing a Legal Services of Eastern Missouri attorney on this topic or other subjects, please contact Greg Severin at 314-968-3060 or gseverin(at)lentsandassoc(dot)com.