What Documents Are Needed for End-of-Life Planning?
It’s never easy to think about your mortality. However, it’s essential to plan for the inevitable. Even if you’re not old, or an ill person, you need to organize your end-of-life documents. When did you last review the terms of your life insurance? Do you know who gets the death benefit after your passing? Have you written your will? As many as six in 10 adults in the United States do not have any end-of-life documents.
You may not be a billionaire or have too many assets to leave for your family. However, there are other things you need to consider. If you develop a terminal illness, you will need to give your family power of attorney rights. If you pass away unexpectedly, your family will need access to your digital assets. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure all this out. Here are a few documents you need to help you get you started.
Power of Attorney
Choose your power of attorney carefully. This person will be able to act on your behalf if you’re unable to. There are several types to consider. For your end-of-life documents, you need a durable power of attorney. The person you choose will make all your legal and financial decisions when you can’t. Having this resource will help eliminate the need for third-party dispute settlements.
It might help if you also had a healthcare power of attorney. Having one will make decisions about medical treatment easier to figure out when you can’t.
Do you trust a medical provider to decide your end-of-life care? You will usually make these decisions yourself. However, it is vital to have a living will. This will help if you have a terminal illness, low life expectancy, or are in a coma. In these instances, you make all the decisions. These include when to pull the plug, what medical treatments you prefer, and so on.
Your family members and medical professionals will be able to follow your wishes instead of guessing what you want. Don’t just write them down on a piece of paper—they need to be in a legal document. You can get an attorney to help you with the legal requirements. Also, remember to make this living will easy to access for your family.
If you are young and healthy, your life insurance policy is probably valuable. However, it’s still a good idea to check what death benefits your family gets, and it’s never too early to do this. After all, you could develop a sudden terminal illness or have an accident. If you’re close to retirement, you should call your insurance company and check the cash value of your life insurance policy. Your retirement funds may not be enough to pay the premiums. It may no longer be the type of investment that works for you. It may even be about to lapse.
Have you heard about viaticals? In several situations, it may be better for you to consider a viatical settlement. You can also consider a life settlement. A viatical settlement transaction transfers ownership of life insurance from the policy owner to the viatical settlement provider. The immediate payout will help you pay for medical treatment, clear your debt, and enjoy the time you have left with your family.
Digital Assets Memorandum
Have you thought about your digital assets? Not many people do. If you do not mention them in your will, your family will not have access to them. There are several rules about who can access your online accounts. Get legal help to ensure your family has no issue with this after your death.
Digital assets may not seem as important as life insurance or a power of attorney. After all, why should social media or an email account be at the top of your list for end-of-life documents? Remember that these also include online bank accounts, payment portals, and a lot of your personal information.
List of Documents
So, your insurance company assures you that your life insurance gives your family decent death benefits. Or, perhaps you have a viatical settlement. You’ve put all your papers in order. However, have you considered how your family is going to access everything? It can be challenging for loved ones to put your documents in order after your death.
To make sure everything goes smoothly, compile a list of documents. List everything from your social security, license, bank papers, and so on. Make sure everyone knows where to access investments, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. Give them access to digital accounts with passwords and logins. Get legal help to figure out how to store this securely, so your personal information does not end up in the wrong hands.