Updating Your Important Documents, Part 2: Life, Health and Financial Documents
Now that we have officially rolled into 2021, have you started preparing your important documents for updates? We recommend doing so to protect your assets and peace of mind. Turn the uncertainty of life into certainty. With the past year we’ve all experienced, we could all feel a bit more secure. So, what types of documents should you update? And what kind of life changes might prompt updating? Read below to answer these questions and learn more.
Are all licensed drivers in your household listed on your auto policy and do we insure all vehicles in the household? Do you have a vehicle not owned by you but furnished for your regular use, like a business vehicle? Did you have an occupational change that might affect the miles driven to and from work? Do you use your personal vehicle for business? Do you own any Recreational Vehicles, like golf carts, ATVs, RVs, or motorcycles? What about any watercraft? Are you using your vehicle for ride-sharing services? You can benefit by discussing these topics with your insurance agent.
Health insurance companies are frequently making changes to their plans or adding new offerings. An annual review of your policy will help determine whether your costs and coverages meet your distinctive needs. Ask yourself, “Have I experienced changes in my health?” If any new health problems have arisen, you will want to make sure you are covered. On the flip side, you can get discounts for good health. Have you had changes with your medications? How much do you spend on prescriptions and doctor visits? Have you married, divorced, or had a baby? Consider all the topics posed in these questions when reviewing your health insurance policy.
Life insurance is obtained to protect those who depend on you. Does your job offer life insurance? If so, what does the group policy pay? Have you had a new baby, or do you have young children? Does your current policy offer enough coverage to meet the needs of your loved ones?
While it is difficult to create a will and think of your wishes after your passing, it is one document that carries much importance and should be updated on a regular basis. Estate and Tax laws are constantly changing and vary from state to state. Get the most out of your will by ensuring it meets law requirements. We recommend consulting an attorney to see if you should make any amendments regarding estate laws and estate planning requirements. Any asset changes need to be updated, like moving to a new home or opening a new business. Reviewing any charitable donations that you wish to provide upon your passing will help to make sure your wishes are carried through, too. Reviewing your choice for an executor is an intelligent move, as people, your relationships with them, and their situations can often change.
If you have a more complicated estate, consider a trust. Unlike wills, trusts do not need to go through the probate process which can be arduous and stressful for your loved ones. They help address family dynamics that can be complex, as they are more flexible than a will. Trusts also have an advantage over wills because they can operate while you are still alive. There aren’t any specific thresholds that need to be met to consider obtaining a trust, but there are many nuances a trust can cover that cannot be adequately addressed in wills.
If your family is changing, such as new grandchildren, children coming of age, divorce, marriage, or any other changes, we advise updating your list of beneficiaries. Doing so will ensure that your loved ones receive your possessions appropriately.
Power of Attorney
The individual that you have assigned as your POA should be done so with careful consideration. Be sure that you trust them in their abilities to carry out your wishes and are comfortable discussing those wishes with them, even if they disagree. They are, after all, the individuals that will make financial and/or healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Consider assigning a backup POA as well, for added peace of mind.
Storing Your Documents
Most people keep these items in a safety deposit box, which is great, but it’s important to make sure that those named on your will have access to the box. We recommend also keeping these documents in a fire-proof filing cabinet in your home for safe-keeping, as well as a secure digital copy shared with a trusted individual. Be sure your executor knows where to find the documents.
**Have you recently moved to Florida from another state? Contact us to receive a PDF of the book “On the Road to Florida.” The book provides extensive legal information and serves as an informative guide. This is a free resource we provide and contains valuable information for new Floridians.
Let Us Serve You
Having been in business since 1973, we have developed a network of trusted professionals that we would be more than happy to connect you with to answer any questions you have regarding wills, trusts, POAs, and more. As always, reach out to us with any insurance or risk management related questions, comments, or concerns. With over 150+ years of combined experience among our staff, we will gladly share our knowledge and expertise with you.