I love what I do for a living. I love talking to all kinds of people about building wealth and discovering what is important to them. I love learning how we can create the future they desire by conscious money moves. The part of my job that is even more important, that is even less fun to talk about, is all the events that would keep them from these dreams.
Three months ago, my mom was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that left her unable to care for herself. Overnight, she went from being an independent individual who lived alone and took care of herself, to someone who didn’t remember if she ate, couldn’t remember where she lived and didn’t know that she was sick. That was my loved one’s emergency.
Thankfully, my mom executed her estate planning documents several years ago. I brought her Health Care Directive to the hospital and doctor’s appointments which allowed me to speak to the medical staff and aid in her medical decisions. I brought her Power of Attorney to the bank which gave me access to her bank accounts so I could pay her bills. Her Last Will & Testament is kept in a safe place until it is time to use that document too.
My sister and I were able to move swiftly because my mom already had the documents, we needed to help her in a situation like this. We didn’t have to petition the court to be able to help our mom- we had the legal documents that allowed us to do this.
A family emergency that requires you to use any of the documents I mentioned means that something catastrophic has happened. If you’ve already experienced something like this, you know how difficult it could be to be grieving, sad, angry, or whatever other emotions you are feeling while also trying to do what is best for your loved one. Those emotions become that much more magnified if you are unable to help your loved one in that time of need because the proper documents were not executed.
Everyone should have a Health Care Directive, Power of Attorney and Last Will & Testament. Yes, even if feel like you are: too young, don’t have anything, your loved ones know your wishes. The doctors aren’t going to speak to you because you tell them you had a conversation with your loved one about this. The bank isn’t going to give you access to their accounts to keep the household running because you tell them your loved one asked you to do this for them.
If you don’t have these documents executed- get them done. Get them done for you and for your loved ones so that they aren’t trying to figure it out after something has happened to you.
If you are entrusted by one of your loved ones to be that special person if something were to happen to them, ask them these questions: Where are the original documents? Do they have copies? Who is the attorney that drafted the documents? In an emergency, you need to be able to locate these quickly so you can make the decisions you need from the start.
As I said in the beginning, this is not my favorite part of what I do, but it the most important topic we discuss. Empower yourself and those you love by executing your estate planning documents and talking to them about it. We all hope that we are never in a situation that requires we use these documents. However, if we are, we want to make sure that the ones we love can make the best decisions.
2021-125436 Exp. 08/23
Alicia Gonnella is a Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities and Financial Representative of Guardian. Securities products and advisory services offered through Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS), member FINRA, SIPC. 1040 BROAD STREET SUITE 202 SHREWSBURY, NJ 07702, ph# 848-456-3060. PAS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. This firm is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation. Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services, and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.