Authored by Walt Shurden
Reviewed by Mary F. Trotter
January is the benchmark month where we tally up how we did last year and tweak what we are doing to make the next year better. This casual type of planning assumes we are on a steady trajectory.
But what if 2017 brings bad health, nursing homes, or even death? Consider these difficult topics this January so you can do well when you are at your weakest.
Bad Health in 2017.
If you have not already signed a Health Care Surrogate Designation giving your family or friends control over your healthcare when you become incapacitated then you should do this now. You should also sign a Living Will Declaration stating the conditions under which you would not want artificial life support.
A Nursing Home stay in 2017.
If you have not already given your family members the Florida-specific legal powers they will need to protect your savings from the cost of nursing home care then you should do so now. If The quality with which your Durable Power of Attorney is drafted could very well determine which asset protection techniques will be available to your family. Documents drafted in another state are valid but often ineffectual. Durable Powers of Attorney also allow your family to operate independent of the Guardianship Court system. These are very useful documents that save your family time and money.
Death in 2017.
If you have not set up an estate plan that transfers your wealth directly from you to each of your beneficiaries then you should put this high on your list of things to do. The plan should include effective provisions for the weaknesses or vulnerabilities of each beneficiary.
If you have already done these things.
If you have already implemented the documents above then read them this January. For clarification go see your attorney for a conversation about how your current planning addresses a year of bad health, a prolonged nursing home stay, or your death.