Ordering Our Affairs

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More and more—both personally and professionally—we experience the awkwardness and ramifications of people not being ready for life’s predictable (or unpredictable) challenges. One of the worst is diminishing mental capacity. I can’t recall a single instance of a young and/or healthy acquaintance saying, “Someday I won’t be able to think for myself, much less act.” And I can count on one hand the number of times someone has said “Steve, I feel myself slipping and need to let someone else handle my financial affairs.” Yet, it happens “even to the best of us” as they say.
Some folks seem to think that planning for the “worst” creates bad “karma”. But when it comes to planning, we think almost the opposite wherein planning for the worst times enhances the enjoyment of the good times. Regardless, it is just smart to plan ahead and make sure that the proper documentation is in place LONG before we need it. As awkward as it is to think or talk about these things when things are going well, it is horrible for loved ones to have to approach us when we are in dire circumstances.
We have experienced having to ask loved ones to complete wills and Powers of Attorney (POAs) on their death beds. We have all too often been the first person to notice let alone mention a decline in mental abilities. We have even been involved in court-ordered guardianships when clients failed to acquire POAs prior to their mental capacity declining too much for them to make decisions for themselves. These experiences are always hard, heartbreaking…and avoidable.
We are not attorneys, so lack legal capacity to create the documents necessary to avoid these calamities, but we are always ready—even eager!—to explain what various methods and documents might be considered. Meanwhile, we encourage all of our clients to at least provide a Trusted Contact. As this is being written, we are failing in all efforts to communicate with a client and wish they had provided a name of someone we could call to at least ask “Is your mom/dad/friend okay and how might we reach them?”
Any opinions are those of Steven Gideon and not necessarily those of Raymond James. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions, or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or a loss regardless of the strategy selected. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.