How to Prepare Your Affairs In Case the Worst Happens
The coronavirus pandemic has brought a death toll in the millions from all around the world. The best way to protect people from contracting the illness remains distancing yourself from other people and staying indoors as much as possible. But people still need to go to work, especially if they’re frontline workers.
However, although the definition of frontline workers needs to be agreed upon by authorities, you may already be returning to your regular workplace. This is particularly hazardous. For example, even if your wellness resort adjusts to the pandemic, you still face an increased risk of contracting the illness and getting hospitalized.
Worse, you may have a preexisting condition and fall mortally ill. The mortality risk of the illness depends on largely on your age, but you never know how it can affect you and your capacity to earn. Although it is a very sensitive and grim topic, you need to learn how to set your affairs in order in case you are hospitalized for a prolonged time or in case the worst happens.
Here are five steps you can take to ensure your affairs won’t be a mess if you fall ill and that your loved ones are take care of.
- Locate all Personal Records
You need to set your affairs in order long before you put yourself at risk. Locate and collate all important personal records your family or loved ones may need to check you into a hospital or to access your finances. These will generally fall into three categories: personal information, financial data and medical information
Medical information includes your insurance policy and documents on the coverage of your health insurance. Your previous medical history will also be necessary to guide doctor’s treatments.
Your personal information includes all documents that will help your loved prove that you are who you say you are. Birth certificates, certificates of employment and marriage licenses belong in this category.
Finally, you must collate your financial records. The passwords to your bank accounts, lists of assets like real estate property and investments should all be easily accessible by your family in case the worst happens.
- Create a Reference for Important Documents
Naturally, all your documents will be incredibly difficult to parse. This is why you need to make it easier for your loved ones to reference and find them. For example, you can sort out all your files into different clearly marked folders with tabs indicating the contents. You can print out a page identifying which document is which and where they can be found. This will make the process significantly easier if you do succumb to an illness.
- Prepare Advanced Directives
If you do catch the virus, you’re more likely to be incapacitated for a long period or even rendered uncommunicative. You may be too delirious to manage your healthcare and finances or unable to speak due to medical devices. This makes arranging advanced directives essential prior to the events. Advanced directives generally fall into two types. A living will instructs people on how you want to be cared or in your illness. The other type is assigning someone who will have durable power of attorney for health care. This designated person will be in charge of making medical decisions for you.
If you own a business or have a lot of enterprises, you may also want to assign someone with durable power of attorney, which will empower them to make decisions for you in any legal task should you be unable to make them on your own.
- Come Up with Financial Strategies
Whether you’re running your own business or simply working on the front lines, you and the important people in your life need to come up with financial strategies should you fall ill. This can include where you’re going to get the money to pay for your health care. Which assets are you all willing to part with to fund prolonged hospitalization? Should you sell the car first or take out a second mortgage on your house? Setting these protocols up long before they become necessary makes it less hard for your loved ones and reduces the stress from an already stressful situation.
- Contact a Legal Professional
Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to get the advice of a legal professional. Have a lawyer go over your affairs such as your will and check if everything is in order. This can help you spot any issue that could reduce legal entanglements if you’re unresponsive or worse in a hospital. Their help will also be necessary if you plan on changing your will.
Yes, it’s not pleasant to discuss what could happen when the worst happens. But bad things, like serious illness, can and regularly do happen, especially in these uncertain times. Not discussing the probability and how to handle such events helps no one. Learning how to set your affairs in order will give you and your loved ones some peace of mind in these troubled times.