Promise Me This for 2019?
Many people contact me in January because it’s the traditional ‘lose weight and get organized’ time of year.
Helping you weigh less is not my area of expertise.
For more than 20 years, I’ve focused on organizing your time, space, information, and building personal and business skills and habits. I can help you master those areas.
This isn’t a sale pitch, though.
This is a heartfelt plea for you to help yourself and those you care for that you get your financial and legal information in order. Now. This month while you’re still motivated. Gather it or update what you’ve already put together.
Traveling executives, military, diplomats and practical people do it. Why shouldn’t you be as prepared?
Need positive encouragement to motivate you? Do it for yourself because it feels really good to know you’re organized, at least in this regard. Your family will be proud of you!
Need scare tactics to get you started? Here are just four situations that I have experienced either personally or with clients. There are thousands more, especially for people caught in flood, fire and earthquake disasters.
1) Adult ‘child’ lives thousands of miles away and doesn’t have consistent mail, computer or online access. Having power of attorney means a trusted person can transact business on their behalf by setting up and maintain bank accounts, sales of vehicles, receive and deposit tax refunds, and maintain a mailing address for the business of daily life.
2) Comatose people cannot pay their life insurance premiums. After only missing 2 premium payments, a 50-year-old man died. His children were horrified when they learned the insurance company denied benefits, despite a many-year history of his ‘paying ahead’ on the premiums. His son had power of attorney BUT this person didn’t write any of his online passwords on paper, so his accounts were inaccessible for all practical purposes. Yep, true story.
3) Elderly woman dies. Her family sorts through the papers on her desks and figures out she had over 20 bank and minor investment accounts! They suspect there may be more. It’s a time consuming puzzle that strains her children who have their own responsibilities. It seems a waste of time and effort when they realize there was no practical reason for the number of low-balance accounts. Adding to the confusion is through the years she told her five adult children different stories of what she owned and what she wanted done. No one wanted to talk about a parent’s death during social visits. So much angst could have been avoided if they had just made a ‘business’ appointment with each other to discuss this.
4) A young adult man had a bad motorcycle accident and was hospitalized for months before passing away. His parents had no idea where to begin to figure out his accounts, who to notify, and they had even less of an idea about what kind of care he would want in case of something like this. Grief is hard enough without the added stress of incomplete records.
Who can speak for you and protect your assets if you’re inaccessible, incapacitated or worse?
If you have adult single children or are a single adult, who has legal power of attorney to deal with the banks and other accounts? Bills need to be paid and contracts honored regardless of the owner’s availability.
Don’t know what emergency documents you need? Print either of these and follow the instructions:
Here’s a comprehensive guideline for FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
You don’t have a will, assigned power of attorney, or living will? Contact a lawyer. Ask for recommendations. It’s economical for the payoff.
Have a red folder with your legal documents and instructions in the front of your file drawer or in another place someone can find easily. Tell your closest trusted person where to find it. Keep it updated with your passwords and account numbers. At the very least tell them how to get into your computer to find your information.
Even if you’re missing some information, it’s still far better than what I see most people have completed.
Promise me and your loved ones you’ll both start this process and complete it?
If you need help, email me or call me at 215-460-6173 to schedule a time to chat about future planning needs. This way you can be kind to the people in your life that you’ll need to rely on, whether you’re here or not.