Rainy Day Planning – Things You Put Off – But Shouldn’t
RAINY DAY PLANNING – THINGS YOU PUT OFF – But Shouldn’t
By Matthew A. Ferri, Esq. Rainy days are nice to catch up on things you put off, or to enjoy doing absolutely nothing. They can be great days to relax and refresh. gather all the miscellaneous tasks you never seem to get to.
Don’t Put Off Planning For The Future
There are some tasks that should not be held off for those rainy days. These tasks are too important to put on hold. Planning for you and your family’s future is not something that can wait to be done. By planning now for future illness, disability, and death, you can lay out all your wishes and ensure they are followed. More importantly, you can provide guidance for family members who might not know how to handle certain situations in your absence.
Health, Disability, and End of Life Planning
Some things you could consider planning for include:
- Who would you name as a healthcare agent? This role is given to a person you trust to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. This is typically done through a Healthcare Power of Attorney;
- Who would you grant HIPAA authorizations to? These authorizations enable your loved ones to obtain information from medical professionals, which is necessary if they must make a medical decision for you; and,
- What types of treatment you would like in different scenarios? Whether you would like to receive life support, artificial feeding, or be resuscitated are all personal decisions and decisions that may change depending on your current situation. These are included in advanced directives or living wills. They provide information to your loved ones in the event they must make choices for you.
It is important to not only have these decisions made and documents in place for yourself, but also for your adult children. If your children are 18 or older, doctors will not allow you to participate in making medical decisions for them. They may not even share their medical condition with you if you don’t have a proper HIPAA authorization.
You should also consider some of the details in your financial plans, such as:
- Consider who you would name as a financial agent – this role is granted to someone you trust to make financial or legal decisions for you if you were no longer able to make them for yourself. This might be short term, such as for a recovery from surgery or an auto accident. Or it may be long term or permanent, such as dementia, or a coma caused by an accident;
- Gather information – having an idea of the different bank, investment, and retirement accounts you (or your spouse) have, whose name the house and any vehicles are titled in, and what kinds of insurance you have, can make it easier to plan and easier on your loved ones if they ever have to take control. Create a list of all your important papers and records, and their locations; and,
- Consider who you would like to inherit, when you would like them to inherit and how – for some this may be an easy decision, you’d want everything to go to your spouse or equally to your children. For others, more thought may have to go into it. Would you want your children to receive equal shares? Would any of your potential beneficiaries need financial advice before receiving a lump sum of money? If they are younger beneficiaries, would you even want them to receive a lump sum? Or would you rather any inheritance be held in trust until they are fiscally responsible enough to handle it? Do you need to protect one of your children’s inheritance from a pending divorce, gambling problem, or drug addiction?
Benefits of Proactive Planning
Proactively planning can have a tremendous value to families. Having a personalized plan in place can help prevent unnecessary stress, expenses, and disputes. It can also make sure your wishes are carried out and make it easier on your family should the need for them to step in arise. Instead of waiting for that rainy day, you can find out more about how to plan for you and your family by contacting our office to set up a complimentary initial consultation, (248) 409-0256.
About the Author
Matthew A. Ferri, J.D., M.B.A., is the Founder and Principal of Life Focus Planning, a Michigan based estate planning law firm. He is an estate planning attorney with offices in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Shelby Township, Michigan. His expertise includes advanced estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, Veterans benefits, special needs planning, and business planning. During law school, Matt focused his studies on business law while simultaneously earning his MBA. After graduation, Matt started his own firm with the goal of helping individuals and their families develop estate plans that work. He received the rating of AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell: The highest peer rating standard. This rating signifies that a large number of his peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence for his legal knowledge.