April 5, 2021
Estate planning is a complex task that many people put off until it’s too late. There’s a good reason for this: it can be an emotional and arduous process to make decisions protecting your loved ones, personal values, financial assets, and more. But if you want to give yourself peace of mind, or ensure the care of someone you love after your death, it’s time that you face this challenge head-on.
Without this preparation, not only can it be challenging for your loved ones or advisors to determine your exact wishes, It may be hard for your family to find the crucial information needed to guide their decisions. Imagine yourself in a situation where you are incapacitated or pass away. You’d no longer be able to provide the answers your loved ones desperately need.
To avoid this troubling scenario, we recommend putting together an “In Case of Need” file to provide all the critical information and answers to the questions that will undoubtedly arise.
Here are 10 things to include in your “In Case of Need” file. It may be helpful to file these items in an accordion file, each item in a different section:
1) Create a list with the phone numbers of doctors providing care, attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, and any other critical professional contacts.
2) Written instructions for long-term care or hospice, such as type of care, location, or caregiver.
3) A Medical Power of Attorney naming the person you want to exercise this power, signed and witnessed. Provide medical directives such as Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or Do Not Intubate (DNI), as appropriate to your wishes. If you are unable to speak for yourself, this document can be valuable.
4) A Financial Power of Attorney naming the person you want to exercise this power, signed and witnessed. This document should be specific to state that it only takes effect if you are incapacitated.
5) Include your Will or trust documents. Make sure and add specific bequests to prevent conflicts between heirs. Lists of property owned should be provided, and the location of any storage units, bank deposit boxes, or other assets that might not be well known. Failure to have a signed and current Will can force assets into probate, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
6) Include a mortgage statement and any other debt documents so that your financial representative can handle these matters. Include the Deeds to any owned properties.
7) Include bank statements and a list of related accounts. Don’t forget reports that pertain to owned financial instruments. Make sure these are relevant and up to date.
8) Retirement account statements.
9) Health insurance policy information, medicare insurance information, Veteran’s benefit information (if applicable), life insurance policies, long-term care insurance policies, disability insurance policies, or annuity policies (as appropriate).
10) Funeral trusts, pre-paid plans, or final expense policies, including written directions for funeral arrangements and special requests.
Having a thoughtfully prepared and current “In Case of Need” file will greatly ease the strain on family, loved ones, caregivers, advisors, and other survivors who will be struggling without your guidance in a critical time of need.
Another step to prepare for the future is to review your existing life insurance policy and determine if it is still meeting your financial and planning needs. Perhaps your situation has changed, financially or otherwise, and the burden of the policy is impacting your quality of life. You might be able to sell your policy for cash and reset your financial plan. A life settlement transaction is a powerful tool that allows life insurance policyholders to sell a life insurance policy for cash, which can be used however needed (click here for an estimate of how much)! In addition to the cash up front, you no longer need to make future premium payments, helping you reduce your expenses. Life settlements are a regulated transaction, so make sure you are working with a life settlement provider or broker who is licensed in your state. At Q Life Settlements, we help guide you through the life settlement process.