It's the oldest of old saws: Nothing is certain but death and taxes. That makes estate taxes a double whammy. Yet earlier this year, a FindLaw.com survey found that only 35 percent of Americans have a will.
That's barely a third. The other two-thirds, presumably, will leave their families to sort out the mess. A similar lack of foresight is seen with prenuptial agreements (or a lack thereof) or finances during one's college years, where debt can snowball into a suffocating mass by the time one graduates.
Our readers have a lot to plan for, and with our new Legal Planning section, we're helping them do just that -- and if need be, to do so with professional help.
Matters of Life and Death
Legal planning isn't limited to times where death seems eminent, or even limited to death itself. Proper planning at all times ensures that people are ready for all stages of life, from dealing with education debt, to buying a home and starting a family, to retirement on the coast of Florida.
Some of that is simple financial planning. Most of that, however, requires the services of an attorney. Prenuptial agreements, estate planning, and real estate transactions are just some of the stages where our readers can benefit from an attorney, and when one is needed, FindLaw's Lawyer Directory is only a click or two away.
Because so many consumers abstain from looking ahead, our new Legal Planning section is divided by life stages, from "Young & Single" to "Married With Children" and "Retirement." Each contains common problems, and planning tasks, appropriate to that age group. For example, "Young & Single" individuals will likely have student loan debt, so we include articles on manage those expenses, and when appropriate, advise them to seek counsel, as many everyday life issues are also legal issues.
Value for Consumers and Counselors
We want to educate consumers about life's common events like marriage, starting a family, or starting a business that can addressed in advance. We also want to educate about less obvious legal parts of your life such as employment, renting an apartment, finance and credit cards, divorce, DUI, drafting a will to name a few.
For consumers, the information in our Legal Planning section can serve as a starting point for evaluating their needs. As for our friends from the bar, reminding consumers to plan early, and plan often, will hopefully match them up with a lawyer that can help them with the more complicated tasks, such as setting up a trust or a living will.
Much like our Learn About the Law section, Legal Planning is just one more way in which we connect consumers and attorneys. And, to quote another old saw, everybody wins.
-- Kevin Ahlvin, Director, Business Marketing
with William Peacock, FindLaw Audience Team