If we have learned anything from the pandemic the last two years, it’s that we need to prepare for the unexpected. With a virus that can have unexpected complications in even the healthiest of people, preparing for emergencies is more important than ever. We often hear people thinking they aren’t old enough or wealthy enough to need an estate plan, but surely you have something to protect regardless of your age or financial status. Preparing for the unexpected is a way to protect your loved ones should something happen to you. So where should you start when preparing for the unexpected?
How to Prepare for the Unexpected
Make sure your estate plan is updated.
If you have an estate plan already, the best thing you can do is ensure that it’s updated. Our lives can change so quickly, so as you are moving through the different phases of life, update your plan accordingly. Make sure your beneficiaries are correct, plan for any properties or other assets you’ve acquired since the formation of your plan, redo your plan with a local expert if you’ve moved to a different state, basically update as any big changes have happened in your life. Click here to read more about when to update your estate plan.
Don’t only plan for your assets.
A part of estate planning that’s often overlooked is determining your wishes for your healthcare. Have a plan to include who would be able to make decisions for you, should you become incapacitated. Also make direct decisions ahead of time like what you would want for pain management, would you want to be resuscitated, what do you want done with your remains? Other factors to consider would be making arrangements for your children if they are minors, or any pets that are a part of the family. These decisions are arguably the most important when it comes to preparing for the unexpected. You don’t want to leave your loved ones hanging if they are depending on you.
Keeping all of your estate plan documents in one secure place will help your loved ones to know where to go should an emergency happen. Take is a step further by having an inventory of any possible information that your trustees would need. This should include a list of accounts and how to access them, a list of properties, a list of physical assets and their locations, a list of your advisors and their contact information, insurance information, etc. Click here for more tips and guidance on how to organize your finances for your loved ones.
Have the tough conversations.
The last tip, and what’s probably the most important, would be discussing your estate plan with your loved ones. Your plans will only help your loved ones and will only work if they know what to expect. If you aren’t here, how will they know what your wishes are? It’s by no means easy to discuss these things, but having an open and honest conversation about your plans will help your loved ones also prepare for the unexpected. For help with how to handle talking to your family about your estate plan, click here.
Preparing for the unexpected is challenging as you never want to discuss anything bad happening. But being prepared will only make things easier during a difficult time. We are always here to help guide you. Do you need an estate plan or to update an existing one? Contact us and let us know how we can help.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.