Your high school graduate has been accepted to college, your deposit was sent in, they are on Facebook connecting with other students going to their new school and they have picked out their new comforter. Other graduates are excited about their new jobs, and having their own money. Freedom! With all that freedom, there is also some fear. There should be some fear. Hopefully, it will help keep them alive!
I will not say “if” our graduates will need our help, I will say “when” they need our help, as their parents, will we be able to help them? Last article, I spoke of the need for all 18-year olds to have an Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) and Power of Attorney (POA), and while you’re at it might as well prepare a Will.
Where do I start, who do I call? We have great lawyers in the Richmond area. I have worked with several lawyers on different items. On each of my children’s 18th birthdays, we were at our lawyer’s office, signing their first set of adult documents, AMD, POA and Will – Happy Birthday! I have personally experienced the need for these documents, they are working documents and they were my gift to my children, as well as me!
Here are three options to prepare your documents with which I have experience:
I actually restructured Citibank International Private Banking’s Fiduciary Services years ago (disclaimer, I am not a lawyer). For all of us that need to learn what “Fiduciary Services” mean, in layman’s terms included are Trusts, AMD’s, POA’s and Corporations for personal use. The reason I mention this is the fear of seeing a lawyer! The fear of the cost! Having a basic knowledge of all these documents and even having used them previously, I know how to prepare before seeing a lawyer. Preparing allows you to minimize your time with a lawyer, which reduces your cost. Even though I knew how to prepare, it still cost me about $1,000 for each of my children’s sets of necessary documents. My website has a guide to preparing for drawing up your documents with a lawyer, www.AMillionTinyThings.com.
Personally, I do not like the on-line legal companies that you have to put all your information out onto the internet. However, I do like some of the software programs available. You install the software on your computer and all your personal information stays on your computer. You pay once for the software and you can use it multiple times. The software I have costs $39. The drawback is, not having any expertise of a lawyer. There is a reason why we pay lawyers!
Another option, now my personal favorite, is pre-paid legal services specifically Legal Shield. For a modest monthly fee - currently $20, their lawyers will prepare your, your spouse’s and your children’s (dependents up to 26 years old) necessary documents. I have had qualified opinions of Legal Shield, and so far I have only heard good comments. Because of that (full disclosure) I signed up as both a member and associate. Think of all the times you wish you could “have your lawyer write a letter” and stop all the nonsense. Please go to their website to get full information to evaluate if this would be helpful to you, your family and your graduate: www.ReneeNorman.LegalShieldAssociate.com.
Think of all the contracts your child will be given to sign; lease agreements, employment contracts, car insurance, medical insurance, etc. Legal Shield will review documents up to 15 pages as part of your monthly membership fee. I wish I had had Legal Shield many times in my life, especially when my husband was sick with ALS.
No excuses, you now have some low cost options to prepare your necessary documents!
Renée Norman is the author of, A Million Tiny Things, My Experience in Caregiving. For more information, please go to www.AMillionTinyThings.com, www.ReneeNorman.LegalShieldAssociate.com, email: info@AMillionTinyThings.