Life is short
June 17, 2016
By Martha Sullivan, CPA, CVA/ABV, CM&AA, CEPA
Partner, Succession Planning Practice Leader
Every day the news is filled with stories that shine a light on the fact that life is short and unpredictable. Even when it may appear that everything is going your way and/or you have lots of time left, we never know when the course of our lives may change dramatically or, worse yet, be cut short. The stark reality is that to best serve and care for the ones we love, preparation and planning for the worst must be done.
If you’re like me, current events often make me pause and think about what would happen in our world if the ground suddenly shifted beneath our feet at home or here at work? Are we prepared? In some ways, yes; in other ways, no. There’s still work to be done.
What about you? Have you talked to those closest to you – your family, your key colleagues, perhaps your business partners – about the plans that are in place and what they can do to help your or your family through a crisis? For example, have you shared:
- Where your estate planning documents (your will, powers of attorney, etc.) are and what directives they provide?
- Where they can find an inventory of your assets (personal and business holdings) and what should be done with them?
- What insurance policies are in place and who to contact to activate the coverage?
- Where your key personal financial documents are, such as loan and bank documents, identification cards, account holdings and tax returns?
- How to access your online accounts including log-ins and passwords?
- If you’re a business owner, who is in charge in your absence and what should be done with the business?
- Who your key advisors are and how to contact them?
If you haven’t thought through some of the above directives, it’s time to do so. You never know when this information will be needed, but it will be needed. If you have assembled this information, when was the last time you pulled it out and made sure it was true to your current desires, relationships and assets? If you haven’t shared what you want and other key information with others, have the tough conversation. Make a promise to yourself to take care of this in the next month. You will feel better knowing what to expect when the unexpected comes down.