Would you ever walk out the door one morning and instead of going to the coffee shop or the gym, just go on a vacation for a month or two? Just head out of town without making no arrangements for who will handle routine household matters, who will feed pets and water plants or how bills and finances will get managed. While the spontaneity might be tempting, in all likelihood, upon your return, your household and finances would be in chaos. This scenario may sound unappealing but that’s most likely what will happen if you don’t have a plan in place should you unexpectedly become unable to maintain your personal affairs.
Most estate planning experts believe that planning for unanticipated events during your lifetime is as important — maybe even more important — than who will inherit your assets. Consider:
- If you are suddenly unable to manage your financial affairs, do trusted loved ones have the legal authority to step in and continue for you — without the need for court intervention?
- Do family members know where your bank, investment and retirement accounts are maintained? And if they do, will they have access to the funds in those accounts to pay your medical expenses and other bills?
- Do you have a Power of Attorney and health care directive, and do those entrusted to implement your instructions have the documents they need?
- Who will know where to find the usernames and passwords to your financial accounts?
Understandably, most people do not like to imagine such possibilities. If you are among those who procrastinate, you are setting the stage for potentially costly and time-consuming legal proceedings. And when a judge in a courtroom is making decisions about how your estate is distributed, the outcome may not be what you would have wanted.
You can avoid this chaos by having a plan in place that will enable trusted loved ones to carry on for you — and share the information and documents with those who will need them. And you just might decide one morning to take that unplanned vacation — but with the knowledge that all will continue to function smoothly while you bask in the sun or hike in the mountains.
For information on how you can plan for the unexpected and benefit Massachusetts General Hospital today, without writing a check, contact the Office of Planned Giving at (617) 643-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at giving.massgeneral.org/LegacyChallenge.