What to know if you need ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial pro­tec­tion

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

(StatePoint) It is hard to think about death, but or­ga­niz­ing your fi­nan­cial pa­per­work, hav­ing a will, mak­ing sure you have an ap­pro­pri­ate amount of life in­sur­ance cov­er­age and even writ­ing out fu­neral plans, can help en­sure that loved ones left be­hind have a lit­tle less to worry about dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time.

Draw up a Will Only 44 per­cent of Amer­i­cans re­port hav­ing a will, ac­cord­ing to a 2016 Gallup poll, and that per­cent­age drops to just 14 per­cent for those younger than 30. Even if you don’t own much, a will helps fam­ily and friends know that they are fol­low­ing your wishes, which can be com­fort­ing. If you have chil­dren or pets, it is im­por­tant to think about their fu­ture and who you want to take care of them in your ab­sence. Spec­ify if you have spe­cial direc­tions re­gard­ing your fu­neral ser­vices, if you want one at all.

Cre­at­ing a liv­ing will is also crit­i­cal. You’ll want to give your loved ones some guid­ance on mak­ing im­por­tant health de­ci­sions, should you be un­able to your­self. Grant­ing power of at­tor­ney to a trusted agent in the event that you are too ill or in­ca­pac­i­tated to over­see your af­fairs is an­other way to help en­sure your es­tate will be prop­erly man­aged un­der any cir­cum­stances.

Con­sider Life In­sur­ance Nearly 90 per­cent of Amer­i­cans be­lieve that a fam­ily’s pri­mary wage earner needs to have life in­sur­ance, but only three in five U.S. adults own an in­di­vid­ual or group life in­sur­ance pol­icy, ac­cord­ing to the Life In­sur­ance Mar­ket Re­search As­so­ci­a­tion 2018 In­sur­ance Barom­e­ter.

“Life in­sur­ance can be an im­por­tant part of an over­all fi­nan­cial plan. The money can help your fam­ily ful­fill your plans for them, such as main­tain­ing their cur­rent home, at­tend­ing col­lege and as­sist­ing those with spe­cial needs,” says Bill Smith, pres­i­dent, Cigna Group In­sur­ance. (All Cigna prod­ucts and ser­vices are pro­vided ex­clu­sively by or through op­er­at­ing sub­sidiaries of Cigna Cor­po­ra­tion, in­clud­ing Life In­sur­ance Com­pany of North Amer­ica, Cigna Life In­sur­ance Com­pany of New York (New York, NY) and Con­necti­cut Gen­eral Life In­sur­ance Com­pany.)

Smith also points out that ben­e­fi­cia­ries of­ten have other im­me­di­ate needs beyond re­ceiv­ing a ben­e­fit check. Grief coun­sel­ing or ac­cess to le­gal doc­u­ment re­view may be avail­able as part of the pol­icy.

Find out what re­sources will be avail­able to your ben­e­fi­cia­ries and list those de­tails with your pol­icy in­for­ma­tion to make it easy for them to ac­cess this help.

And re­mem­ber, if some­thing changes in your life -- you get mar­ried, di­vorced or have chil­dren – you should up­date your ben­e­fi­ciary in­for­ma­tion ac­cord­ingly.

Or­ga­nize Your Pa­per­work Make it easy for your fam­ily to han­dle next steps. Cre­ate a per­sonal in­for­ma­tion or­ga­nizer con­tain­ing the fol­low­ing cru­cial in­for­ma­tion to serve as a quick ref­er­ence:

• Per­sonal fam­ily in­for­ma­tion, such as the names, ad­dresses, dates of birth, So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers of spouses, chil­dren and de­pen­dents.

• Im­por­tant con­tact in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing your at­tor­ney, land­lord, fi­nan­cial plan­ner, doc­tors, busi­ness as­so­ci­ates, etc.

• A direc­tory spec­i­fy­ing the lo­ca­tion of per­ti­nent doc­u­ments such as your So­cial Se­cu­rity card, birth cer­tifi­cate, pass­port, prop­erty deeds, in­sur­ance doc­u­ments, loan doc­u­ments, tax re­turns, es­tate plan­ning doc­u­ments and more.

Want to strengthen your fam­ily’s fi­nan­cial well-be­ing? Take steps now to help en­sure they will be well-pro­tected, come what may.

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