We often discuss the various types of estate planning documents and their value, but it is just as important to realize that an estate plan does little good if the key people either do not know about the estate plan or are unable to access key documents after a person’s death or incapacity. The need to make sure that your loved ones can quickly access your estate planning documents has become even more important as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates in Oklahoma and the risk grows of people suddenly falling ill or ending up incapacitated.
It is a common occurrence after a person unexpectedly passes away or becomes incapacitated that their loved ones must go on a hunt to locate that individual’s estate planning documents. This problem can be avoided by having your estate planning documents current and contained in a specific location.
Some have suggested creating a “nuclear football” during the COVID-19 pandemic, which refers to the briefcase that the President of the United States supposedly uses to authorize a nuclear attack. To avoid leaving your loved ones unable to locate your critical estate planning documents, it is a good idea to create your own version of a nuclear football that contains your critical documents and is easily accessible by your loved ones in case you need to go to the hospital or something suddenly happens to you.
What to Include
Some of the critical documents that you should include in your estate planning “football” include:
- Major estate planning documents like power of attorney, wills, living trusts, and advance medical directives. These documents help your loved ones express to medical professionals what type of treatment you would like to receive in case something happens to you.
- Copies of your insurance card. You might also include your Medicare card, Part D prescription coverage information, or any other critical information that is necessary to pay medical bills.
- Details about your medical history should also be included. This means information addressing any chronic conditions you face.
- A list of your prescriptions as well as any over-the-counter medications that you take. You should also include information about what dosages you take.
- Your personal information including your full legal name, birth date, social security number, and a list of your medical providers.
What Package to Use
Many people decide to include all of this information in either a binder or a large envelope. You should also make sure to include a label explaining the contents of the package. Other people, however, decide to create a digital package that is then included on a digital drive or a cloud service that loved ones know how to access electronically.
Speak a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to consider whether their estate plan is as well-written as it can be. If you need the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, do not hesitate to contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.