Florida has been hit by almost five hundred hurricanes and tropical storms in the past 170 years. If there is one thing every Floridian knows, it’s hurricane season. Hurricane season divides Florida into two basic groups: people who think the storm “will pass” and aren’t worried about it and people who stay glued in mortal terror to their TV screen. It seems like storms are getting stronger; however, luckily, these storms are easier to track using the latest technology. In addition to packaged food, bottled water, flashlights, and other safety supplies comprising the must-haves on your disaster preparedness list, include estate planning as part of the readiness kit.
Confused? Hear us out.
Estate Planning as Part of Your Hurricane Routine
Estate planning is the ultimate form of disaster readiness because it helps you plan for what might happen if you’re incapacitated or killed in a storm. In Florida, which has survived more hurricanes than almost any other state, it’s commonplace to be unconcerned even by the largest hurricane. However, things happen, and a well-thought-out estate plan can help you prepare for the worst.
Here are several ways in which estate planning helps in a disaster situation like a particularly strong hurricane:
- Incapacitation or Death (Worst-Case Scenario)
If you are injured or killed, your estate plan will contain several important documents to help you, including a durable power of attorney, living will, and healthcare surrogate. A POA carries out decisions for you in the event that you cannot make them yourself. A living will is a directive that tells people your healthcare decisions if you are unable to do so yourself, and a healthcare surrogate is a trusted person who will act on your behalf in a medical emergency where you cannot make your own decisions.
In the event of major disaster in which you end up incapacitated, estate planning gives specific instructions on how to handle your medical care and other decisions.
- Property Management
After a hurricane, if you are unable to make your own decisions, your business and assets won’t be cast aside and throw to the government. Estate planning allows you to dictate where your property goes, as well as to whom.
- Funeral Arrangements
If the worst-case scenario occurs, you want to have your funeral prepared via an estate plan. This way, your family has an easier time making the arrangements and can focus on grieving and spending time together.
- Taking Care of Your Kids
If something bad happens, you’ll need to know that your kids will be taken care of. Estate planning means that you can list your kids as beneficiaries, dictate where they will go in the event of your passing away if they are underage, and make other important decisions pertaining to them. In the event of a life-changing disaster, this will be vital to your family’s safety.
Though you might not think of estate planning as a tool to have in your disaster-preparedness kit, it absolutely should be. Estate planning protects you and your family in the worst-case scenario, such as a major, life-altering storm.