Estate Planning Matters To Think About During This Crisis

Positive steps we can all take to protect our financial wellness during this season of uncertainty

As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, there are some non-investing matters we should consider in order to protect our families and financial well-being. Forbes.com recently listed the following ideas to think about:

Durable and Heath Care Powers of Attorney A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to act on your behalf financially in the event of your disability. The durable power allows someone (your agent) to make a wide array of financial decisions, including contacting insurance providers, filing taxes, and paying bills. A health care power of attorney (in Michigan called a “Patient Advocate Designation”) allows someone to make health care decisions, including hiring and firing doctors, signing releases, and authorizing (or withholding) treatment, and end-of-life decisions.

Make sure your Durable and Health Care Powers of Attorney are in order, with two layers of agents, and make sure your agent knows how to access them. In addition, if your parents are living, this is a good time to check on their Powers of Attorney and make sure the appropriate parties have a copy. The situation also applies to those with adult children: If you have college age children under your control, check on their Powers of Attorney and have a copy on hand. Under HIPAA rules a medical provider cannot release medical information, even to a parent (if the child is over the age of majority) in the absence of a HIPAA release.

Safe Deposit Box If you have a safe deposit box (or your parents), make sure someone is legally listed as an authorized agent, and knows how to access it. This is also important for a fireproof safe, give the right person(s) the location and access information.

Digital Assets List and encrypt your Pin numbers and digital access for accounts and make sure someone knows how to access them. Do the same for your parents and adult kids. Digital assets could get lost or be inaccessible in the case of disability.

Cash Build up a cash reserve aside from credit or debit cards. In the event of liquidity issues, power outages, or other problems, having a supply of cash on hand makes sense. 

Emergency plan Have an emergency plan for the family to facilitate communications in the event there is a power outage or other disruption in normal communications. 

Auto deposit/auto bill pay It’s possible mail delivery may be disrupted. Make sure all income inflows and expenses are set up on auto deposit and pay.

All of these ideas are useful in good times or bad – for young and old. If you have any questions regarding these ideas , give us a call. There is no better time to plan ahead!