What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Planning for a major personal illness is critical for you and your loved ones. The following is a checklist of the areas you should focus on in setting up your plan.

Legal and Financial Documents

Being able to tell your caregivers where to locate your important financial documents and legal papers is crucial before you suffer a major illness. You should develop a document list that you give to the caregiver or to your advisor — attorney, accountant, financial planner, etc. Examples of important documents to include on the list:

  • Passwords and logins for all accounts, including online
  • Birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security card
  • Insurance paperwork and name/number of agent
  • Will, trust, power of attorney, healthcare proxy
  • Checking and savings account information
  • Credit card accounts and passcodes
  • Retirement accounts and other investments and assets
  • Tax returns
  • Mortgage paperwork, property deed and leases

Insurance

Make sure you understand your insurance coverage and your insurance options. The key is to buy the right type of insurance at the right time. Stay in close contact with your insurance agent so that he or she has a good understanding of your wants and needs as your family grows and changes over the years. Types of insurance to consider include:

  • Health insurance, comprehensive and supplemental
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term care insurance

Estate Plan

One of the most important things anyone can do is to provide a clear directive for their family and loved ones in case of illness or death. Your estate plan states your wishes clearly and concisely. Estate plans can be simple or complex and are best made when the owner is healthy. Items you may wish to include in your estate plan include:

  • Will
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Healthcare proxy or living will
  • Trusts
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