The VITAL WorkLife Wheel of Well Being is a tool used to evaluate distinct areas of life and build overall well being through improving each dimension of well being. Your overall well being is made of multiple dimensions. Legal Well Being is one dimension contributing to your holistic health; you cannot achieve overall well being without having balance in each of the dimensions.
What is "Legal" Well Being
A useful definition of Legal Well Being is understanding the law as it pertains to your personal or professional welfare. Suzanne Zemelman of the University of Missouri Lincoln speaks of1 the importance of taking actions to ensure legal health, so:
“Should a crisis occur, you have your affairs in order to reduce the emotional and financial stress on you and/or your family.”
Legal Well Being includes financial protection in these areas, plus access to necessary legal knowledge and/or representation in other areas such as family law, property, business law or criminal law.
What Contributes to Legal Well Being?
Legal Well Being means you or your family are not dealing with legal problems (or if you are, you have adequate legal information and help) and the risk of any future legal concerns has been minimized. There are many areas available to you to work on if you are interested in improving your Legal Well Being. A few questions to consider as you assess this area might include:
- Do I have a will and is it up to date?
- Have there been changes requiring adjustment of my estate plan?
- Do I need a healthcare proxy or a financial Power of attorney?
- Do loved ones know where all my important documents are located?
- Are my business and/or personal assets adequately protected?
- Am I adequately insured against general/professional liability, healthcare costs, long-term care costs, disability?
- Are my beneficiary designations for life insurance, retirement funds, etc. up to date?
Paul was a 34-year-old married executive in good health. He had a great job, a fantastic wife and they had a baby on the way. Paul worked out four times a week and ran on the weekends. Life was great.
Paul and his wife had talked about making a will, but with his new job and working on their new home combined with the fact he believed he had plenty of time, neglected to get started on a will.
After his untimely death, the laws in his state required his spouse receive a third of his assets while his parents and siblings received two-thirds. Paul would have wanted his wife receive 100%, but without a will, it was in the hands of the state and the court.
How to Achieve and Maintain Legal Well Being?
In addition to the specific problems associated with legal stress, these issues may cause or worsen physical, relational, emotional and general mental health problems. A willingness to take an honest look at these issues along with a desire to make positive changes is the first step. Achieving and maintaining legal well being can be accomplished by increasing awareness and knowledge, seeking appropriate supports and professional guidance, and cultivating a desire and intention to make improvements.
To learn more about your Legal Well Being dimension, you can read from our recommended reading list.
- “Give yourself a legal checkup,” Suzanne Zemelman, MS, JD, Consumer & Family Economics Specialist, March/April 2003, Outreach and Extension, University of Missouri Lincoln http://extension.missouri.edu/ecregion/lifetimes/MarchApril03.PDF
We Can Help.
VITAL WorkLife supports all dimensions of your Wheel of Well Being. Call us anytime, day or night, for the support you need.
EAP members call 800.383.1908
Physician Well Being Resources members call 877.731.3949