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Treece Talk: Plan for the Unexpected Like You Know It's Coming

| May 14, 2020
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The Coronavirus pandemic reminds us that we are not invulnerable.

Many of us live our lives like nothing can hurt us until we get sick and then planning is rushed or worse, left to our children after we die. The truth of the matter is that we should move on to the next phase of our lives with the same dignity and deliberateness that we pursued our careers and built our families.

There is no greater gift than managing all the big questions so your children and family can focus on remembering you at your best.

Today, the issue is front and center because of the impact of COVID-19. So are questions about issues like power-of-attorney, living wills and advanced care directives.

To execute these documents properly, Florida requires a notary and two witnesses. The logistics of this have been complicated by the pandemic, so the time to work out the kinks in the process is now.

To make sure you are using your time efficiently, we’ve developed a free Survivor’s Guide, which works like an organizer for important contacts like your attorney, accountant, asset manager etc. This is designed to address hospitalizations, too, and lists passwords, account numbers and who to contact in an emergency.

Although a will is common, you can also have named beneficiaries for your retirement accounts like IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, life insurance and the like. The same applies to checking and savings accounts and CDs at a bank. And, we work with a variety of really good attorneys that we can recommend in both Miami-Dade and Broward.

A big decision is who will have your power-of-attorney. It could be you need someone with that power because you are in a hospital and a document has to be signed. It’s true even for married couples. I want to emphasize this - there are a lot of ways people can make mistakes. One is thinking that they don't need something when they really do, even if you are married.

And if you formalized your documents two decades ago, you may want to review them and have them updated. At some point, the laws change. For example, it used to be that power-of-attorney in Florida only kicked in if you were incapacitated. Now, those decisions can be made on your behalf whether you are incapacitated or not.

Lastly, many people in Florida are from somewhere else. They come and stay for the rest of their lives. Maybe their documents were originally prepared in New York, which is very common. What you need to know is that if you live in Florida, you need Florida documents.

Here’s another important wrinkle to consider: you can have a family member that lives out of state be your executor. But Florida requires non-relatives to be state residents. That is important when you have to go to court and that requirement turns your entire case into a mess.

So having someone in your corner that knows Florida’s ins-and-outs is essential.

We can walk you through the entire process and help you find the right person to do the right job for you. Reach me at Treece Financial Group by calling 305-751-8855 or email me at david@davidtreece.com.

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