This has certainly been a year of unforseen calamities that affected each and every one of us in some form or another. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced people to stay indoors and stay apart from loved ones, schools and businesses, there have been massive storms causing flooding, property damage and injury.
From a legal and practical perspective, there are steps you can take to protect your family so that if a catastrophe strikes, they are equipped with the authority + information needed to begin tackling the problems.
Compile your personal information. Create a Master List of your assets; your sources of income; your insurance policies [long-term care; life; homeowners; medical; etc]; your retirement assets and potential pensions; your physicians; your chronic health conditions and prescriptions; your passwords; and the names and addresses of your important kin or support system.
Identify the person you trust to have authority to handle matters on your behalf if you become incapable of functioning due to disease or injury. You’ll need somebody to handle medical decisions, and someone to handle the financial end of things, which is everything from banking & bill-paying to insurance claims, public benefits applications, property sales, and so on. Speak with that person to be sure they’ll accept this responsibility. Select at least one back-up for this “job” as well. Then make an appointment with an attorney to write up a Durable General Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive or Health Care Proxy.
Decide who should inherit your assets. Think about whether you should leave assets In Trust if a beneficiary receives disability benefits or if the beneficiary is young or has “issues.” Make an appointment with an attorney to review the structure of your assets and to write up a Will.
Sign HIPPA releases and give them to your health care providers so that your trusted person will be able to speak with the doctor to get information that is necessary for the assistance they provide to you.
Safe storage. Decide on a safe, dry, reliable place to keep your important documents and information.
Have a discussion with your designated trusted person(s) to let them know where you keep your Master information list, your legal documents and Will. If it’s in the safe deposit box at the bank, or in your lawyer’s safe, make sure they know which bank or lawyer’s office it’s at. You might want to give your trusted person a key to your home or the alarm code.
Planning and Protection go hand-in-hand. Call us for help in putting together your family protection plan ….. 732-382-6070