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Is your family prepared for the unexpected?

2020-07-16


COVID-19 has forced introspection into many aspects of our lives. For many people, this pandemic has led to the uncomfortable realization that a health crisis is a real possibility, with the potential to upend you and your family’s path. Members of MNP’s Family Office Services team collaborated with Dr. Daren Heyland, a critical care doctor with more than 25 years of experience to discuss what families can do to prepare.

Ask yourself: if you were hospitalized with COVID-19, what would your family do? Do you know how medical decisions are made and have you established what your values and preferences for medical treatments are? Do you have a plan? Since you will likely be too sick to communicate at the time, does your family know what to say to the doctors on your behalf, where to find your plan, and are they prepared to execute it?

Unfortunately, most people avoid preparing for the worst-case scenarios and can’t answer these questions. Consequently, family members experience considerable anxiety and stress when serious illness happens and they are unprepared to engage with doctors or move forward with the rest of their lives when their loved one is sick.

Let’s start by looking at how healthcare decisions are made. Throughout Dr. Heyland’s career, he’s assisted many families in navigating a health crisis and sees that many people are not prepared for the decisions they have to make.

“It’s important to think about what your values and preferences for medical treatments should be, in the event you contract severe COVID-19 infection or some other serious illness,” Dr. Heyland explains. “Otherwise, your family will be stressed trying to guess your wishes and you may not get the medical care that is ‘right’ for you.”

To help people think about their healthcare options, he developed Plan Well Guide. This free tool walks you through the decision-making process, asking questions such as: do you want medical treatments that focus on prolonging your life, or medical treatments aimed at maintaining the quality of your life? Do you want doctors to do everything they can to keep you alive for as long as possible, or do you prefer a natural death without being attached to machines?

We know — these are difficult questions to answer. But in a health crisis, they will need to be answered. Thinking about your options and building a plan now means your wishes will be known  and your family will have the direction they need to make informed decisions, should something happen.

The other side of the equation involves your family’s finances. If you’re the financial lead for your family, you may know where all the critical information and key documents are saved. But if you’re incapacitated, your family will scramble to find what they need and may miss key information.

Consider these areas:

  • Do you have a comprehensive list of bank accounts, investments, and contacts?
  • Is your personal insurance information easily accessible?
  • When is the last time you reviewed or updated your will and estate plan?
  • What are your liabilities and where is that information stored?
  • Have you shared this information above with loved ones?

These are a handful of questions that have to be considered during a health emergency. It can be overwhelming to think about, and even if you do spend time compiling your information, are you confident that you’ll capture everything?

Tracy Noullett is a Partner with MNP and helps families navigate complex life decisions. As a part of her role, she’s worked with clients to develop a LifeBook™ — a personalized, all-in-one resource that captures the important information a family needs to have on hand.

Tina Di Vito, also a Partner in MNP, uses the LifeBook through her family office approach, as this is an integral component to understanding and advising any family. By creating holistic plans that integrate current and future needs as well as planning for future unknowns, a family will know their legacies are secure and their daily decisions are made easier as a result.

“A LifeBook™ and a serious illness plan created helps your family get organized and answer the questions you didn’t know you had to answer,” Di Vito says. “It delivers the peace of mind that you have what you need and your family knows where to find it.”

 We know that centralizing your financial information is a complicated process and we want to help clients build a comprehensive plan. By developing a personalized LifeBook™, you’ll get a clear picture of your goals, what you own, what you want to do with your assets — all held in one place.

These are unpredictable times. Our advisors are here to support you and provide advice to make you feel secure as we navigate what comes next.

To start your serious illness planning via Plan Well Guide, click here, or contact Dr. Heyland at [email protected]