Zombies are coming, mother-nature is unstable, Ebola is here, crime is on the rise and social media has opened up our lives for the world to read. In other words, disasters come in different forms. Russ Alan Price states in an October 13, 2014 Forbes Magazine article:
“Though the peril to the general public tends to be sensationalized, the pitfalls for ultra-wealthy families are very real. The sheer complexity and diversity of lifestyle and financial obligations and eroding distinctions between wealth and fame can leave the exceptionally wealthy vulnerable to geopolitical instability, market volatility, career criminals, and even unscrupulous associates.”
As he is correct that wealthy and famous people need to plan and protect themselves, average Americans, especially with children, also need to plan and take precautions. The mindset after the Great Depression was to stash money beneath the mattress in case of an emergency. Today’s emergencies are more complex and require more attention.
- Insurance policies – review life, disability, property and flood insurance to ensure adequate coverage is in place
- Estate documents – wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, health care surrogates and medical directives. Update when needed.
- Tangible property – create a list of items in the home and include the recipient of each item.
- Savings – build a nest egg to last at least six months to take the burden off of unemployment, sickness or death of a spouse.
- Types of disasters – know what kind of mother-nature disasters occur in your area and prepare accordingly. Blizzards do not typically hit South Florida.
- Evacuation plan – locate local shelters and determine if it fits your needs (i.e., pets, children, medical).
- Emergency alerts – register for emergency alerts through local law enforcement.
- Communicate – advise friends and family of your wishes. Give them access to or provide copies of estate documents, tangible property wishes, contact information of family, friends, attorney, insurance companies, etc.
Planning and preparation before a disaster or event may not reduce the amount of damage caused but will make rebuilding and recovery much easier regardless of social status. Whether you need to review your estate status and documents or prepare/revise trust(s) and/or a will, contact an experienced estate planning attorney. Ronald A. Luzim, a former estate and tax attorney with the IRS has been practicing law since 1974 and specializes not only in estate planning but real estate, family law, asset protection and bankruptcy. Please contact his Coral Springs office at 954-755-1500 for assistance in protecting yourself, family and property.