Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Do Hurricanes and Estate Planning Have in Common?

Hurricane season officially begins in June.  And despite the best efforts and intentions of meteorologists, the precise path, time of arrival and strength of these potentially devastating storms cannot always be predicted with complete accuracy.  Local governments do their best to convince people residing in or visiting vulnerable areas to prepare for the worst.  Many heed the warnings.  Sadly, others do not, and often suffer tragic consequences.

We think the onset of hurricane season serves as an apt metaphor about the importance of estate planning.  Like meteorologists, whose host of sophisticated scientific tools and resources do not necessarily enable them to predict a hurricane's path and strength, neither we nor you can predict exactly what the future holds.  

Fortunately, like emergency response planners, we can plan for the future's possibilities by helping our clients prepare an estate plan customized to their unique families and goals.  Your plan can protect your financial well-being today and tomorrow, provide for your loved ones after you are gone, and enable you to leave a lasting legacy for family and society alike.  

Your plan can also help prepare you and your spouse or other loved ones for changes to your physical well-being, through incapacity planning, healthcare directives, durable powers of attorney and more.  Access to the DocuBank Healthcare Directives Registry, which we provide to our clients free of charge, can prove invaluable in this regard.  It ensures that your healthcare directives are immediately available to hospitals and family members in the event of an emergency.  It also provides vital information to doctors, such as medical conditions, allergies and emergency contacts, to name a few.  

One aspect of effective estate planning that some families overlook, at their peril, is the importance of keeping their plan up-to-date.  The fact is, an outdated plan can actually be worse than having no plan at all.  We recommend that families review their estate plan at least once every two years, and whenever a significant change has taken place in their situation or that of a family member.  We can also help our clients update their DocuBank account to reflect any changes to their health or wishes concerning whom they would like to make decisions for them, or the care they would like to receive if they cannot speak for themselves.  

By keeping your estate plan up-to-date, you can truly prepare for the unexpected.  And, help ensure that everyone you love, and everything you own, will be protected--today, tomorrow and beyond.  

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