Planning for Emergencies in Your Estate Plan
At Phelps LaClair, we like to say that failing to plan is planning to fail. This is especially true when emergencies happen. As estate planners, we take your interests to heart because you are the heart of our business. We do everything in our power to make sure you and your estate are covered by wills, trusts, living wills and powers of attorney, should the worst case scenario develop. And emergency planning is an essential part of sound estate planning.
What Does Emergency Planning Involve?
You should have death and disability insurance as part of your estate plan to provide financial protection for your family. You should have business trustees and guardians for your children named in your will. These are the people who will act on your behalf in a time of crisis. And you should have an advance directive outlining the kind of medical care you are and are not willing to receive.
Some Questions to Consider
Should a disaster strike, are the people you have named as trustees and guardians ready to take on their responsibilities? Will they know what to do? Do you have a plan of action in place for them? Here are four things that will help you help them to put your plans into action:
It is important to inform your representatives, trustees and guardians in writing once your estate plan is filed. You will already have had the conversation, and they will have agreed, but it is essential that they have a document in writing to enable them to do what is required. When your plan for them is clearly spelled out, it will be easier for them to navigate the red tape and gatekeepers that would otherwise create delays.
Sending a yearly reminder that you are counting on them is good practice. It will keep them up to date and will enhance the quality of your relationship with them. People do like to be reminded of the value that you place on them. And if for some reason they are unable to continue in the role of guardian or trustee, you will have the opportunity for a timely update of your estate plan.
Your trustees and guardians really want to know how you would like your affairs conducted. Any information you can give will be greatly appreciated. You can make suggestions as to how your children need to be encouraged or disciplined, for instance. Or what motivates them to succeed in schoolwork. For your business and financial powers of attorney, you can suggest strategies that have worked for you in the past, employees that you truly value and trust, customers or concerns that may present problems. Information like this is invaluable to someone suddenly stepping in from the outside.
You should have a list of contacts with phone numbers and addresses for people to be notified in case of an emergency. This would include family and business contacts, school officials, medical practitioners, etc. If you have babysitters, this information is critical. Who do they call first in an emergency? Where do they take the children if you are seriously hurt or killed on their watch? A well-thought out plan can be the difference between panic and effective action.
As you can see, emergency planning is a crucial aspect of a bulletproof estate plan. At Phelps LaClair, we want to leave as little to chance as we possibly can. That’s why we are thorough in our preparation of your plan, and why we encourage you to be sure to cover all the bases on your end. By preparing an emergency plan for your trustees, proxies and guardians, you can help to ensure that no crisis or disaster will derail your family’s future. For more information, call us today for a free no obligation first time consultation. Let’s plan to succeed!