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It’s never too early to be ready for the unexpected.

Mother and daughter walking together laughing

You want to take care of the people you love.

One of the most important ways you can do that? By taking the time to deal with end-of-life issues. We know: It’s not a topic that most of us want to think about. But we’ve all heard stories of someone getting sick or dying without planning ahead and what their family had to go through.

Don’t let that be your family’s story. Here are five things that can make a difference.

1. Make a will. We can’t stress enough that it’s important to have a will. A will puts you in control. If you don’t have one, you’re turning control over to your state of residence.* And that might mean everything you worked so hard for doesn’t end up where you’d like it to.

2. Make a living will. This is a way for you to share how you want specific medical situations handled if you can’t communicate your wishes – things like decisions on pain management, feeding tubes and life support. There are limitations to when this can be used, so it can also be a good idea to set up a healthcare power of attorney (see #3).

3. Create a healthcare power of attorney and a financial power of attorney (POA). These are legal documents that give a person (that you choose – make sure you tell them!) the power they need to make decisions in your place if you’re not able to. It’s usually a good idea to pick one person to manage your health care and another to manage your finances. This is because of the types/variety of personal information they’ll each have access to and the types of tasks and decisions they’ll need to manage. To learn more about POAs, check out this blog post.

4. Store your will and other important documents in a safe place. Two typical options are a safe deposit box (which are available at most Summit branches) or a home safe. There are advantages and disadvantages to each and we’ll leave it up to you to investigate for yourself. If you do opt for a safe deposit box, find out what your state requires for the executor – the person who will fulfill the terms of your will – to get access to the box. And if you have a home safe, make sure the executor can get into it.

5. Get your finances in order. Do you need a trust? Do you have life insurance? Have you put together a summary of your financial records and how to access your accounts? Have you spelled out beneficiaries for things like insurance and retirement accounts? Rely on Summit to evaluate your situation and help you make the choices that are best for you and the people you care about.

Want to really own your financial future, and help your loved ones own theirs too? It’s never too early to tackle these items and Summit Credit Union is here to help.


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