The Phone Call Nobody Wants

Will you be prepared? Will your family be prepared?

That horrible phone call comes: A loved one is in critical condition. Or has passed away. You are a mom, dad, son, daughter, wife, husband, brother, sister, dear friend. You must jump in and help. What now? Is there a well-organized plan in place, or do you deal with confusion and chaos?

Documents

If a loved one is grievously hurt or ill, incapacitated and unable to act on his or her own, do you know where key documents are? Do you know the difference between a living will, an advanced directive, a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, durable power of attorney for health care, and a durable power of attorney for assets?

These documents do different things and should be well-thought-out in advance. If you are single or live alone, who would get the call about you? Would they know what to do? If adult children get the call, do they know your wishes? The older we get, the more complex our lives become, and the more our digital and paper trail grows. We have documents and files critical to decision-making. How organized is that aspect of your life? For most of us, our sock drawer is in better shape.

Do you have a place to record important information that loved ones need to deal with in an emergency or death? So much information must be cataloged and often the missing ingredient is a financial advisor.

Help Is Available

Financial advisors recognize the importance of asking really great questions. And it’s more important to be asked really great questions rather than have really great answers. Because really great answers tend to close things down, while really great questions open things up.

Great questions help you find answers critical to framing contingency plans, succession plans and end-of-life issues. When an advisor works with you to create a comprehensive financial, estate, retirement or investment plan, or some other strategy, a plethora of information is assembled. Copies of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advanced directives, insurance policies, tax returns and other key documents are secured. Net worth statements are created and investment accounts are detailed.

A financial advisor can help you record key data and establish a process to keep it up to date. You also should assemble important documents including birth certificates, marriage records, divorce papers, pre-nuptial agreements, military records, Social Security records, property titles and deeds, mortgages and other debt information. Where is your safe deposit box? Who has passwords to access vital digital records? Who could pay your bills? What about legacy wishes?

Family fights over property, artwork, heirlooms, jewelry and keepsakes are legion. What about a beloved pet? Have you hidden cash, gold coins or other treasures? This is all information your family needs in a time of confusion.

Financial advisors bring you more than just investments. They can help bring order to your life, in times of calm – so that in times of chaos, you and your family are prepared for that phone call.