Simple Steps to Take in an Emergency
7 Simple Steps to Take in an Emergency or Before a Medical Procedure
Recently when the hurricanes were approaching Texas and the Southeast and the false 30-minute missile warning in Hawaii, we were asked what people could do right now, without having the time to meet with an attorney. Dealing with an emergency or health crisis is difficult enough for family, friends and business partners, and complicated by considerations about preserving assets, transferring ownership of assets and tax consequences. Legal advice is critical to document who can make medical and financial decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated and how assets will transfer upon your death. You are advised to seek legal advice if you are unable to obtain legal counsel before your medical procedure there are some simple steps that you can take immediately. This list does not constitute legal advice and is intended to provide a broad overview only.
Simple steps to take right now, note that some actions require a notarized document:
- Designate bank accounts as payable-on-death.
- Designate investment accounts as transfer-on-death.
- Create transfer-on-death or right of survivorship for vehicles and real estate.
- Record transfer on death Deed with your local real estate office.
- Prepare medical and financial power of attorney.
- Prepare Medical Directive regarding the medical care you desire to keep.
- Prepare a Life Instruction Letter which identifies your financial and legal advisors, where your assets are located, and states your desires for funeral arrangements.
- Contact the financial institution, local or state government office for their forms and filing requirements.
- Scan and save a copy of the documents to a storage in the cloud and invite other parties named as beneficiaries to have a copy, send them a copy by email and place the originals in the mail to the named person. If your records are destroyed in a hurricane or if you are in a coma and your disinherited son finds the document naming someone else, then it may be destroyed, so be sure to get the original into the hands of the persons named therein.
- The transferability of bank and investments are governed by the account documents with your bank and financial institution and your state law, please consult your bank and financial institution for their policy and documentation.
- The transferability of titled assets, such as motor vehicles and real estate, are subject to the law of the state where they are titled, or in the case of real estate the law of the state where it is located, you may contact the licensing or recorder’s office for more information.
- After the emergency has passed, you are urged to contact an attorney to review your estate plan and to put a Will and Trust in place.