Power of Attorney

Do you have a power of attorney? If not, have you considered what might happen if you where suddenly unable to make decisions for yourself. No one ever wants to believe this can happen to them. Unfortunately, 2014 was the year my family was impacted by just this type of event.

My husband went in for elective surgery in August. We planned for possible death and the 2 weeks hospital stay with 6 weeks recovery time. We did not count on complications that would place him on a ventilator for several weeks, being unconscious and unable to make decisions for nearly 4 months. We where fortunate that there was money in joint accounts that allowed me to keep paying the mortgage, car, and other household bills. However, that is not always the case.

You may be thinking that you don’t own a home, so this wouldn’t apply to you.  But consider what would happen if you didn’t pay your rent for 4 months.  Would you still have an apartment or house to go back to, once released from the hospital?  Would your car be reposessed? Would your utilities be shut off?  How long will it take to get all of this sorted out, if no one is taking care of things while you are unable to do so?

Some things to think about when planning for financial security:

1. Have a will. None of us know how many days or hours we have left.  Just listen to the news to see how many lives where cut short due to an accident, a house fire, a killing.

2. Have a viable power of attorney (POA) for financial and legal transactions.  The POA allows someone you trust to take care of all your legal and financial transactions.  They must act in your best interest doing as you would, if you where able.

3. Keep a list of financial resources, such as checking and savings accounts. If you have retirement funds or disability policies, make sure they are included on the list of assets.  Depending on the length of time you are unable to act on your behalf, these resources may need to be accessed.

4. Maintain a list of debtors. If you are unable to pay your own bills, someone will need to step in and do the job for you.  That person will need to know who you owe.

5. Have a medical Power of Attorney. It is important to have someone you trust advocating for you.  If you are married, the spouse does have a legal right to make decisions on your behalf.  But if you are a single adult, that person may end up being a parent or sibling, the next of kin.  Decide in advance who you want to represent you.  It may be a significant other that you want, not a family member.

6.  Obtain disability insurance.  Whether you get a policy through your employer or individually, it is important to have an income when you are unable to work.  There are several types of policies available.  Speak to an agent who can help you decide what will work best for your situation.

If you want to discuss any of these items, contact us at TiltedTIns@hotmail.com.

 

What is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is coverage you obtain to pay another person, if you cause them harm.  For example:  If I damage another persons car, I have property damage liability coverage to pay for repairs to their auto.  If I cause damage to a neighbors home, apartment, or am accused of slander, my Personal Liability Coverage pays for those damages.  If I am in business and cause damage to my client or their property, my General Liability coverage pays for those damages.

To determine the amount of coverage needed, you need to ask yourself how much you are willing and able to pay, if you cause injury to someone or damage to something.  You also need to determine the amount of potential damage you could cause.  We live in a country and society where you can be sued for just about anything.  Deciding how much you have to risk will help you to determine the amount of coverage you want.

Please feel free to post to this blog with any questions.

Death – are you ready

Having just walked through the final days of my father, I am reviewing my own planning measures. It is something that we all face, and yet most of us fail to plan for the eventuality of our death. I do have a life insurance policy and a will. However, it’s been several years since I updated my own will. So with that in mind, I’d like to offer a few suggestions to our client’s and reviewers of this blog.

1. Consider who you want your belongings to go to when you die. Is there a friend, niece, nephew, child, grandchild, significant other or charitable organization that you want to receive something from your estate? Sit down a make a list of what you want.
2. Who should handle your estate and make your funeral arrangements? Are they the same person? If so, have you had a conversation with that person letting them know what you want.
3. Update your will if, anything has changed since it was written. You can update using a caudicil or have the will redone completely, if there are too many changes. Make sure you have copies of the will in a safe place and that the person handling your final estate knows where to find it.
4. Make a list of your accounts. List savings and debts. Update annually or as needed. Your executor will neeed to know who to contact and where to go for assets. If you have stock or annuity accounts, retirement funds, make sure to list them too.
5. Consider what you want done with your remains. Do you want a traditional funeral or do you want cremated? Where should the remains be buried, or do you want them scattered. Do you not want any type of service? Regardless of what you want, let the person who will be handling your estate know your wishes. 6. As you plan, do you know how much money will be needed. Funeral costs go up about every year or 2. Do you have sufficient assets or life insurance to pay for the final expenses? You may not have a clue. Most of us don’t price such things. It is helpful to visit a few funeral homes and ask about their fees. Get a good idea of what you might need so your final wishes can be met.
7. You can establish a savings account for final expenses or talk to an insurance agent about purchasing a life policy. Many of us don’t have sufficient amounts in our savings to pay for our final expenses. A life policy is a good way to make sure there is sufficient money to handle the costs. However, a savings is important too as there are often many out of pocket expenses.

Something I discovered going through the process, is that the more you plan, the more you can save down the road. By knowing what you want, the person handling your final requests can plan where to go to purchase items, and how to best stay within a budget.