Spring Cleaning Isn’t Just for Your Closet

Spring is in the air, the days are getting longer, and with warmer weather comes the urge to declutter and freshen up. But have you considered giving your legal affairs a good spring cleaning too?

Just like your physical space, your legal life can accumulate a lot of “stuff” over time. Unreviewed documents, outdated plans, and even forgotten questions can create uncertainty and stress down the road.

That’s where the Friedman Schuman attorneys can step in. They can help you sort through  your legal documents, ensure your plans are current, and answer any unanswered questions you may have about your legal affairs. Keep scrolling to hear from our attorneys as they answer common questions from clients this time of year:

Q: Do I need to keep all past employment contracts, even for jobs I no longer hold?

Harold Goldner: “Your employment agreement may include terms or conditions that extend beyond your employment. Some employment contracts include obligations not to compete which may restrict where or what kind of work you may perform, or restrictions upon which customers you may interact, or even terms prohibiting you recruiting or hiring former co-workers from former employers.  Subsequent employers may want to see your former employment contract to make sure that they are not running afoul of such agreements merely by hiring you.  You should keep those agreements until at least four years after those obligations expire because the Pennsylvania statute of limitations on contracts is four years, and some contracts even extend that period if you are in breach.”

Q: Should I consider creating digital copies of my documents for convenience and accessibility?

Alex GusikoffYes, I advise my clients to maintain digital copies of their Estate Planning documents for a few reasons. First, regarding a Last Will and Testament, there are procedures under Pennsylvania law to allow a copy of an original Will to be admitted to probate if the original Will is lost, destroyed or otherwise cannot be located, so it is a good idea to maintain a digital copy in the event something happens to the original. Second, it is often helpful for your loved ones to have copies of your Estate Planning documents so that they are aware of any rights and responsibilities they may have as a fiduciary (either as Executor or Trustee). Third, maintaining digital copies of your Estate Planning documents along with information regarding your financial portfolio can help your Executor gather and collect the information needed to administer your Estate in a single location. This can significantly ease the burden of administering the Estate.”  

Q: Should I keep copies of any bills, receipts, or communication related to past medical care?

Megan G. Knoll: “Absolutely, clients who believe they may have been a victim of medical malpractice negligence should maintain bills, receipts, and communication related to their past medical care for injuries and treatment caused by the negligence.  Medical expenses for injuries caused by negligence can quickly escalate.  Receipts and bills serve as crucial evidence in establishing a client’s financial loss. By keeping records of these expenses, clients can more completely assess their financial losses and seek appropriate compensation for same.  Similarly, communication related to past medical care, including emails, letters, or text messages exchanged with healthcare providers, can be invaluable in documenting the standard of care provided and identifying any deviations or errors in treatment. Clients should keep copies of any correspondence from and to their provider that reflects their concerns and complaints as well as the provider’s medical guidance as these can be crucial in establishing liability for medical negligence.”

Q: If I am a borrower or guarantor on a loan, what key steps should I take this spring to effectively review legal documents and protect my interests?

Ron L. Woodman: “I recommend that you contact your attorney and review the documentation of any business loans you are obligated to repay as borrower, guarantor or surety.  In such cases, borrowers are often obligated to provide yearly financial information.  For example, you may be required to provide the lender with tax returns or other financial information every tax year. 

 Another scenario relates to lines of credit, which often include a “clean down” provision.  Clean down provisions require borrowers to reduce the credit line debt by a certain percentage for a certain period of time each year.  Although not necessarily aligned with tax season, spring is a convenient time to ensure that you are in compliance with your obligations.  To illustrate, one of our major bank clients incorporates a provision into its line of credit agreements stating that the borrower must reduce the principal amount owed by fifty percent (50.0%) for thirty (30) consecutive days during each twelve (12) month period.  The purpose of this is to ensure that a line of credit is not being maxed out and used as long-term debt.  Lines of credit can be likened to credit card debt.  You use them when needed and then pay them down instead of borrowing the entire amount and only making minimum interest payments.  This is a frequent default by small businesses and our business clients should be careful to review their obligations each year.”

Need assistance “spring cleaning” your legal affairs?

Let Friedman Schuman’s expert attorneys guide you through your legal spring cleaning, ensuring clarity and peace of mind for the road ahead. Reach out today and let us help you put your legal affairs in order.

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