Small but Important Ways to Prepare for the Unexpected
Here’s a little reminder from the year 2020: anything can happen.
If you’re like most people, you never envisioned that this year would bring a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, or monumental transitions in the way people live and work. However, this is where we find ourselves and, though there is much to be anxious about, there’s a silver lining, too. We’re all facing challenges that remind us just how important it is to prepare for the unexpected and to avoid complacency and procrastination when it comes to our priorities in life.
One of the most important aspects of financial advising – and the most fulfilling one – is helping people determine how to protect their families in the event of an unexpected life change like death or disability. These aren’t comfortable topics to discuss, which causes too many people to put off planning for another day. For most people, though, protecting family is their number one priority and recent world events provide the important perspective that we need to be prepared for whatever might lie ahead.
Here are a few steps you should consider taking now if you haven’t already:
- Work with an attorney to draw up a will that covers all the legal bases and will allow you to avoid having your estate go into probate when you die. If you already have a will, review, and update it as needed.
- Review and update any trusts or powers of attorney.
- Make sure you have enough life insurance through the right types of policies. Use these questions to help you determine whether there are holes in your coverage:
- · What debts or financial goals do you need to be covered in the event of your passing?
- · Does your current coverage provide the needed amount?
- · Are you paying too much for your current coverage? Might you get a better rate or greater coverage through another provider?
- · Do you have the right types of life insurance for your family’s needs?
- Ensure you have disability coverage, either through your employer or through a private policy. If you already have coverage in place, review your policy, and make certain it covers your needs as your finances change over time.
- If you’re a business owner, make sure you have a properly drawn up buy-sell agreement in place. If you do but you haven’t reviewed it in recent years, it’s probably time to revisit the fine print.
- Inventory all of your assets, debts, property, important account numbers, login names, and passwords so that loved ones can access them in the event of your death.
- Be sure that your friends, family, and coworkers know who to contact in the event of an emergency.
Although the above preparations make for difficult conversations and considerations, they are vitally important to ensuring your family’s needs are met when you are gone. Taking these steps now means saving your family from having to navigate additional concerns if an unexpected event occurs.
As we all look for meaning in what has been a year of great suffering and anxiety for many people, let’s take heed of the inherent lesson: anything can happen, and we will all face unexpected events that are beyond our control. We would all be wise to use the time we have now to prepare in ways that will protect the people we love most.