Make Your Wishes Known Should the Unthinkable Happen

Aug 14, 2020

By Jeffrey R. Wolfe, Senior Vice President, Manager of Wealth Planning Strategies

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If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that you never know what may be around the corner. Quarantines, closings, video meetings; no one saw that coming. In short, what this means is you need to plan for the unexpected.

One key area of planning – especially highlighted by the pandemic – is the need to have a health care directive or a living will. These are documents that provide directions to your selected “agent” on medical decisions if you are unable to make them for yourself, and they can direct how you would like end-of-life decisions to be made.

Creating these documents is an important step that can help protect your personal care and end-of-life decisions, along with letting your loved ones know your wishes in the case of a medical emergency. If you don’t already have one, you should consider getting one. If you do have this planning in place, review your documents to make sure they are up to date with how you wish to be treated. Unfortunately, we all know more about intubation now than ever before; do you have a plan in place to address this should the need arise?

You should consider having a financial power of attorney as well. If you were to become incapacitated, someone needs to be able to manage your financial affairs. With a properly executed power of attorney, your agent can pay your bills, make investment decisions, and generally carry on your financial affairs. Without one, courts must get involved, and this is a slow, expensive, and public process.

These decisions aren’t fun, but if you set aside time to work through these issues you can ensure that your intentions will be carried out. It’s a new world, and you need to prepare for it. Not only will you be able to rest better, your loved ones will thank you for it, should the time come that the plan is needed.

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. does not provide legal or tax advice, therefore it is also important to consult with your legal and tax professionals for additional guidance tailored to your specific situation.