During this time when we are all preparing for social distancing, as a result of COVID-19, it seems imperative that everyone everywhere is planning for the near future. The stores are sold out of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, and I’m sure we will continue to see other shelves emptying as well as a result of everyone wanting to be prepared if they are confined to their homes.
But, my question to you is this: Have you prepared your vital records? This is a time to reflect on your assets, your health and to set your estate planning up for success. Here is an example of what is included in your vital records:
- Birth Records
- Funeral Requests
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Marriage Records
- Power of Attorney
- Property Deeds
- Social Security
I realize that I just shared a very large list with you. However, it’s important for you and your family to have this information gathered and kept in a safe place. In the event that something might happen to you or your loved one, you will need to know their wishes and to have all of your financial information in one designated location.
I live in the state of North Carolina and they offer some very useful pamphlets on their website. I suggest that you speak to an Estate Attorney (can even refer you to a couple that I know if you are interested) and also review these documents on their website. Here are some quick links to the information for you:
I’d like to share a bit about where to keep this important information. I have copied it directly from the ncbar.org site. It’s important information that I think everyone should know.
Where Should I Keep My Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney? • It is suggested that you give a copy of these documents to your family physician, your attorney, spouse or trusted adult family members. For a fee of $10, you also may file a copy of these documents with the Advance Health Care Directive Registry maintained by the Secretary of State. Each registrant receives a password allowing remote online access to his or her documents. A signed copy of a health care power of attorney document also can be given to your health care agent and any alternate named in your health care power of attorney. Due to accessibility when the need arises, a safe deposit box or locked safe is not recommended for storage of these documents.
Often, we think that a safe deposit box or locked safe is a good place to store this information, however, if your family doesn’t have access to these locations, it will not be beneficial.
So, if you find yourself at home with some extra time on your hands, I encourage you to take the time to create your vital record file and reach out to an Estate Attorney to create or update your Will, Trust and Power of Attorney forms. Having this information on hand will give you the peace of mind that you have all the necessary information available if your loved ones should ever need it.