Face it, life is uncertain. We cannot know the future, but that doesn’t mean we should just throw caution to the wind and let come what may. In some areas of life, we can take steps to reduce certain risks by exercising good common sense.
ATM receipts … no big deal?
Dear Mary: This has been bugging me: At my bank’s ATM, there is a big trashcan where everyone throws away their receipt/transaction slips. It seems like a bad idea to toss them away since they show the balance and transaction info. But being cautious means I end up with an overstuffed, cluttered wallet. Do I need to save them, and what’s the best way to get rid of them? Rob
Always take your receipts with you; never leave them at the ATM or use the trash can there. When you receive your bank statement, you’ll need them to verify that all your deposits and withdrawals were posted correctly to your account. Keep your receipts in chronological order in the pocket of your checkbook, wallet, or handbag, or any place that is convenient. Just make sure you always put that receipt in the same place so that it becomes a useful habit. Banks do make mistakes, and those little slips may be your only proof.
That said, once everything checks out, get rid of them. As with any financial document, the safest way to get rid of ATM receipts is with a paper shredder. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend you get a good home shredder. Until then, it is okay to simply tear them up before tossing. Since they don’t list your account number or other highly sensitive information, the slips don’t represent a critical concern.
Bye bye print
Dear Mary: Thank goodness that I get your EC in my inbox everyday, and follow you on Facebook. Our newspaper just went under, where we have read your column, daily for many years! It’s a sad day in my little town. Barbara
Oh, I am so sorry to hear this! Creators, the company that distributes Everyday Cheapskate to print newspapers, stays in close contact with me, but I am not aware of all of the details for each outlet.
It’s no secret that newspapers are going out at a rapid rate—because advertisers are leaving them. These are very difficult days—in so many ways. To see print newspapers that have been in business for decades to now be struggling to stay alive is heartbreaking.
But thank goodness you are here with me online. I hope that many others, like you, who read EC in their print papers will do likewise.
Stick close, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon! We’ll make it through these difficult days as we have done so many times. Thanks for letting me know. It was great to hear from you!
Where there’s a Will there is peace of mind
Dear Mary: My husband and I just had our first child, and now that we have a new little life depending on us, we want to make sure she is always taken care of.
Neither one of us has a will, but I think it’s important to set one up just in case. Problem is, we haven’t ever thought about a will, much less have any idea of what we need to include. Do you have any pointers? Monique
Congratulations! You are right on the money. You do need to create your Wills stating how you want your assets distributed and name who will become legal guardians of your child, (plus an alternate in case your first choice isn’t available) if you should die together.
If a court ever needs to step in and appoint a guardian, the judge will appoint the person you nominated in your will—unless it is not in the best interests of your child(ren) for some reason.
When thinking about who to name as guardian choose someone who knows you and your children well. If you don’t name a guardian in your will, anyone who is interested can ask for the position. The judge then must decide, without the benefit of your opinion, who will do the best job of raising your kids.
You can write your own Wills and then have them witnessed and signed by three persons not named beneficiaries in the Wills. However, I suggest that’s not the smartest way to proceed. This is too important to be left to chance. Spend a few dollars to make sure you do everything correctly and in accordance with the laws of your state.
Consider these options:
Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2024
I highly recommend Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2024 from Nolo Press, a well-regarded and reputable online legal organization helping ordinary folks like you and me handle our basic legal needs.
Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2024 includes dozens of forms including the five documents every adult must have and also practical forms you can use every day to help run your home and keep your family safe, including authorizations and agreements, promissory notes, limited powers of attorney, and minor guardianship and elder care forms, and lots more.
Quicken’s Living Trust, is included with the 2024 WillMaker.
Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2024 is compatible with the laws in every U.S. state (except for Louisiana*, U.S. Territories; not compatible with Canada). And boy is it easy to use—just fill in the blanks. And you can revise it in the future as necessary, without another big legal bill.
Because the whole world is now celebrating Black Friday way before the actual day, Quicken’s in on it too. You’ll find 30% at the site, however, ta-da! today, EC Readers can get 50% Off Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2024 with promo code: CM50.
If you already have already purchased in the past, you can upgrade to the Plus level and get 50% off that, too with the promo code.
*Due to Louisiana’s strict requirements, relying on a generic “Last Will and Testament” form is not wise. Failure to get the form exactly right will result in an invalid document or perhaps worse, lead to estate litigation due to Louisiana’s unique civil law system.
Nolo does offer this simple Willmaker for Louisiana residents that has been prepared and vetted by a team of attorneys. If you live in Louisiana and wish to also create your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive, see a Louisiana lawyer for help.
For $89 each, you can use Legal Zoom, an online site created and maintained by attorneys, to create your wills, specific to your state, including instructions for the custody of minor children. Using the online services at LegalZoom, you can have your individual Wills including guardianship done and in your possession, before you go to bed tonight. This is the simplest option.
Or you can schedule a call with LegalZoom network attorneys for individual and personal advice, starting at $89 each.
Hire an attorney
This will cost a minimum of several hundred dollars, but you’ll end up with documents (each of you need your own Will) specific to you and your children.
Updated, Republished 11-19-23
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