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Embrace Life Checklist
General Agency Company's Insurance Guide to Preparing Financially for Life's Challenges
General Agency Company offers this checklist to help families prepare for and deal with life’s difficult moments. Thoughtful planning today helps families maintain their ways of life and fulfill their hopes and dreams for the future.
Life Insurance -- One of the ways to strengthen your family’s financial security is to consider life insurance. Without life insurance coverage, families risk having to change their lifestyles to accommodate for lost income; possibly by tapping into savings, college funds or other assets. Visit an insurance agent to determine the amount and type of coverage you need to help your family continue to enjoy the same quality of life. Life insurance can also help cover the cost to replace the responsibilities that a stay-at-home parent provides.
Living Will -- When it comes to life-sustaining medical procedures, get your preferences down on paper. A living will indicates the type of care and degree of medical intervention you would want in the event that you become incapable of making such decisions. Preparing a living will help avoid the potential pain of court interference or family disputes.
Estate Planning -- You should consult with your attorney to determine whether your estate will be subject to federal estate tax and to establish a will, trusts and other appropriate documents to distribute assets at your death according to your wishes. Preparing a will also ensures your child custody preferences are expressed.
Beneficiary Designations -- Review the beneficiaries on your life insurance and retirement accounts to make sure the designations are updated and consistent with how you want accounts distributed after your death. Life changes such as marriage, divorce, re-marriage, birth of a child and death of an existing beneficiary may make current beneficiary designations outdated.
Power of Attorney -- This gives legal authority to another person – spouse, friend, relative, advisor -- to make legal, financial and healthcare decisions for you when you are no longer able. In addition, this authority often is used when the principal is not available to conduct his/her business personally (e.g. during military service abroad).
Maintain Your Own Credit -- While many married couples share bank accounts and credit cards, individuals should keep some accounts in their names to maintain their credit standing. This is essential to maintaining financial security after the death of a spouse.
Location of Important Documents -- In order to reduce confusion and chaos in a time of pain, couples should determine a location for all important financial documents. If stored in the home, these documents should be contained in a fire-proof storage box. Couples should gather, organize and store the following: living will, beneficiary designations, bank account numbers, insurance policies, contact information for financial and legal advisors, social security records and retirement and investment account statements. These will be essential resources for the surviving spouse. Adult children (or another trusted adult) should be notified about document location in the event that something happens (injury or death) to both parents at the same time.
Wills, trusts, living wills and power of attorney are all legal documents that generally must meet certain legal requirements. General Agency Company and its agents cannot give legal or tax advice. To obtain such legal or tax advice, the services of a competent professional should be sought.