UNITED STATES—Hi Toni: Recently, I had a bad car wreck and ended up with a minor concussion after hitting the windshield and my wife was not significantly hurt. I am 55 years old and have not even thought about future planning. I work for a large company and the company’s financial advisor has never discussed this with me.

What do I need to do? Steve from Memorial area.

Steve: Great question because America does not realize how in as instant your life can be turned upside down as mine was this weekend. Whoever knew that charcoal broiling steaks would have me (Toni King) ambulanced to a Burn Unit at the Houston Medical Center. My life flashed in front of me as an 8 foot flash flame came from the grill burning my hair, face and left arm.

All I could say was HELP!! I only had a 1st degree burn and was released from the ER.

Steve let’s discuss what financial and legal documents you will want to have in place to protect your family.

Financial Plans:

1)       Life Insurance for you and your spouse: Term, Universal or Whole life as coverage if you are losing your life insurance from your employer benefits when you retire. Many have personal life coverage away from work as extra protection.

2)       Long-Term Care plan for you and your spouse:

  1. Traditional Long-Term Care: The younger you are when you and your spouse purchase a long-term care policy, the lower the premiums will be. My advice is search for Long Term Care while younger and in relatively good health. Make sure that the policy covers care at home and facility care.
  2. Hybrid Life and Annuity Policies: Many life/annuity insurance policies have a provision if you need long term care; you can receive a certain amount of long-term care with your life/annuity policy’s face amount.

Legal documents to protect your family:

1)       Power of Attorney for you and your spouse is the cornerstone of a financial management plan. It ensures that a person’s wishes will be respected if there comes a time when he or she is unable to act. It is a written document whereby someone is appointed to manage that person’s financial affairs in the event of illness or incapacity. Signing a power of attorney is critical to ensure a person’s future independence in the event of illness or incapacity. Without it, one risks having his or her affairs managed by a court-appointed guardian, possibly a stranger, under court supervision and often without the ability to have any input. In other words, the person literally loses financial control.

2)       Medical Power of Attorney (known as a Health Care Power of Attorney) gives someone you trust the legal authority to act on your behalf regarding health care decisions if you ever become incapacitated or unable to communicate.

3)       Living Will is a written statement that details the type of care you want (or don’t want) if you become incapacitated. A living will bear no relation to the conventional will or living trust used to leave property at death; it’s strictly a place to spell out your health care preferences or wishes.

Remember, Christopher Reeves didn’t think he would fall off a horse, which changed his life forever. Always be prepared!

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® is giving a $5 discount on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com. Have a Medicare question? Email Toni at info@tonisays.com or call the Toni Says Medicare call center at 1-844-250-8664.