Right now, as the numbers of coronavirus victims continue to mount, we have to face our own morality. Whether it be soon or hopefully years from now. We have to plan for the worst. This goes not just for those in the “senior” category, but for all of us, no matter our age. We need to take care of those we love now.
Years ago, my young cousin was in the hospital in serious condition. His live-in significant other could not get any information from the hospital because she was not his legal spouse. Across the country there are similar stories as so many people are hospitalized for this illness. Had my cousin done a health directive and HIPAA waiver listing his significant other, she would have been updated on his condition once he entered the hospital.
Another tragic story is of a client who learned that his fiancé had passed away the day before in the hospital after a tragic accident and no one had told him because he was not next of kin.
Nobody expects something like this to happen, especially people who are healthy and making plans for their own futures. But sometimes the worst does happen, and if it does, you want the people you love to be able to grieve properly, without leaving them with a mess of confusion on top of it all.
Now, think about your own situation. What will happen to your loved ones, and the assets you’ll leave behind, if you become sick or die?
Without a doubt, you would want to ensure certain people in your life are informed if you have to go to the hospital, and kept up to date on your condition while you are there. You’d also probably want to avoid them having to go through a drawn-out court process to handle your estate after your death, or save them from the fate of not being able to access your assets if you are hospitalized. This article is all about you having the tools you need to make sure everything is in place to do the right thing for the people you love, just in case something happens to you.
Update Your Health Care Directive
This is extra important if you want your loved ones to avoid the tragic situation that my colleague’s client found herself in. Do NOT delay reviewing and updating these documents.
An Advance Health Care Directive has three parts:
● The Living Will/ Medical Directive, which states how you want decisions to be made for you.
● The Medical Power of Attorney, which states who should make these decisions if you can’t make them yourself.
● A HIPAA Release that allows medical professionals to disclose information to your Medical Power of Attorney/Agent.
Have a General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney will allow a loved one to do simple things like draw money out of your account that you may need, pay bills, and deposit checks.
Name Legal Guardians for Your Kids
A very important thing for all parents of minor children to do is name legal guardians for your children. Think about what would happen to them right now if something were to happen to you, for both the long term and the immediate future.
Make sure you have a Will if you do not want the State to decide where your assets go.
If you have children from another marriage or if you are single do you know where you money goes. Without a will, the laws of intestacy will determine that, not what you may have told everyone and not necessarily what you believed would happen.
If you own a business, make sure you have a succession plan in place. Distribute the assets the way you want. Have the people you want to take over the business to carry on your legacy. Think about any debt your business may have accumulated during this crisis. Is your family protected from not having to pay that.
We love to face our family and want the best for them. While facing our own mortality is hard, we don’t want our loved ones picking up pieces and trying to figure things out. Meet with us for our free legacy strategy planning and lets start planning your legacy.