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Estate Planning To-Dos While Social Distancing

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We want you to stay safe yet be prepared for what could happen. Regardless of age, these recommendations are important as part of a comprehensive financial plan. Especially now, it is prudent to use our extra time at home to go over estate plans and make sure they are still in accord with what we want to have happen. Please review the following five steps and take any needed actions.

Find Your Estate Documents and Read Them

You should have a will, revocable trust, and a durable power-of-attorney that state your wishes and name those who will take over your financial affairs in the event of your incapacity or death.

For health care, you should have a health care directive/living will that names the person who will make medical decisions for you if you cannot. This also provides direction as to what measures you do or do not want your doctor to take to prolong your life.

You should also have a HIPAA release that authorizes a named individual to communicate with your medical providers and obtain your medical records.

Look up and review beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance policies, and TOD accounts.

Ensure Your Plans Reflect Your Intentions

Determine if your plans still meet your legacy and healthcare wishes and make any needed changes. If you don’t have these documents, now is the time to get them. Call or email your attorney who can work on this remotely or go on-line and download template documents for your do-it-yourself use (e.g. LegalZoom, LawDepot, Rocket Lawyer – there are many options).

  • If you have minor children, your will should state who you want to be appointed as guardians for them.
  • Look carefully at your health care directive. You may have stated do not resuscitate. That may not be what you want if you contract COVID-19.
  • Do you have successor agents named? We almost always name our spouse to act in our behalf. In the event our spouse is unable to take over, successors should be named.
  • If you are making changes, indicate that your health care agent can communicate decisions to your doctor electronically rather than in person.

Communicate Your Wishes

Discuss your wishes with your named agents and your family and provide them with copies of your documents (don’t forget your financial documents – see last tip below).

Emergency Packet

Create an emergency packet that you keep ready should you need emergency care. This may help expedite admittance to a hospital. Include items such as:

  • List all medications, dosages and any allergies.
  • Put in a copy of your insurance card.
  • Write your full legal name, address, date of birth, who should be contacted and how to contact them.
  • List your primary care physician and contact information.

Create a Financial Tip Sheet

Document your financial accounts for your spouse or other family member, attorney-in-fact or successor trustee so they will know how to maintain your finances if you are incapacitated. Be sure to:

  • List all accounts, credit cards, insurance policies (life, health, disability, long term care), etc. along with account numbers, usernames and passwords.
  • Write down how bills are paid (via credit card or bank autopay, etc.) and indicate any bills not on automatic bill-pay that get mailed to your house. In particular, you would not want insurance policies to lapse due to unpaid premiums.  If you are in a situation where you may not be able to make premium payments on your life insurance, contact your HKFS financial planning consultant who can have your policy reviewed for options to maintain coverage.
  • Indicate the status of your income and property tax payments and your CPA contact information.

These are key steps to take for peace of mind in these uncertain times. Planning puts you in control.  Contact your HKFS financial planning consultant with any questions you may have.

 

Investment advisory services offered through HK Financial Services (HKFS), a SEC-Registered Investment Adviser. Commission-based securities products are sold by ProEquities registered representatives and offered through ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Broker-Dealer and member FINRA and SIPC. HKFS and ProEquities are independent of each other. 1585662841855