Without a doubt, the past few years—and probably the rest of this decade—will ultimately be memorialized in the history books as quite unique, given theread more
The Power of Planning in Times of Loss
April 22, 2021
It is often said that we never really “get over” the loss of a loved one, but we learn to live with it. We may prepare ourselves for that loss, but most of us are never truly ready for those final moments.
Being practical during times of extreme emotion, especially during or just after a crisis, can be extraordinarily difficult. Organization and advance planning can go a long way to alleviating at least some of the stress and suffering of those you have left behind.
Taking First Steps: Creating a Plan
To cover yourself in case of premature death or incapacity, consider assigning power of attorney for financial and healthcare concerns to a trusted agent, likely a close friend or relative who is up to the challenge as this is an important role with significant responsibilities. A financial power of attorney permits a trusted agent to act on your behalf in financial matters only in times of incapacity, while a healthcare power of attorney covers matters related to your medical care. If you are not married, be aware that hospitals may require a power of attorney for your loved one to visit or communicate with doctors.
Creating a list of assets and liabilities is crucial so that your trusted agent doesn’t have the added stress of putting this together on their own. Make details of properties and financial engagements available. Any business information should be included in this part of the plan.
When it comes to family, give thought to who you would like to receive your personal assets and goods. While the notion of dividing up physical objects may seem morbid, it can actually be very illuminating and grounding. You may even choose to make these gifts while you’re alive to see the recipient enjoy them.
Be sure to store important documents in a safe place. If you have a secure lockbox or online portal (we are very happy to help our clients utilize their Sand Hill portal to its full potential for this purpose), make sure your trusted agent and/or loved ones have access. Vital documents include but are not limited to passports, insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates, estate documents, and powers of attorney.
Bills and obligations must be met, which is where the services of a trustworthy bookkeeper can come in handy when you’re no longer up to the task yourself. Alternatively, establishing services that pay bills automatically can help to ensure financial obligations are kept up to date, but also make a list of the monthly bills and the amount typically due. If the account paying the bills must be closed for any reason, this will be helpful when re-establishing bill pay with a new account.
Passwords and account specifics for social media and credit cards are vital. Make access to your cell phone and any other devices possible, as there could be particulars like contact information and dual authentication that are only accessible through these devices.
Don’t neglect to discuss funeral plans. While some may find this a disheartening subject, consider the details of a celebration of life as part of the journey. We all have ways we want to be remembered and going through the logistics of a memorial service can be a positive exercise.
Maintaining a Legacy: Lasting Impressions
Finally, consider seeking the services of an experienced financial advisor to help you sort through considerations during any of these life phases. Loved ones will undoubtedly benefit from the experience of an independent presence, especially when it comes to prioritizing needs, pointing out missed details, and providing guidance. As the old Ben Franklin saying goes, “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” Death is a part of life so planning ahead for the inevitable should be embraced, not feared or avoided. Giving your loved ones clear details about what to do and how to proceed can save a lot of stress in times of sorrow.
Articles and Commentary
Information provided in written articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. There is a risk of loss from investments in securities, including the risk of loss of principal. The information contained herein reflects Sand Hill Global Advisors' (“SHGA”) views as of the date of publication. Such views are subject to change at any time without notice due to changes in market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. SHGA does not provide tax or legal advice. To the extent that any material herein concerns tax or legal matters, such information is not intended to be solely relied upon nor used for the purpose of making tax and/or legal decisions without first seeking independent advice from a tax and/or legal professional. SHGA has obtained the information provided herein from various third party sources believed to be reliable but such information is not guaranteed. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom SHGA has no control. SHGA makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other Web Sites. Any forward looking statements or forecasts are based on assumptions and actual results are expected to vary from any such statements or forecasts. No reliance should be placed on any such statements or forecasts when making any investment decision. SHGA is not responsible for the consequences of any decisions or actions taken as a result of information provided in this presentation and does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information. No part of this material may be (i) copied, photocopied, or duplicated in any form, by any means, or (ii) redistributed without the prior written consent of SHGA.
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