ORGANIZE, PROTECT AND PLAN

               Congratulations you have accomplished the tedious portion of evaluating your financial situation.  You are now ready to take the steps necessary to prepare for the future.

               What do you do with all of the documents you have pulled to compile the information?  Now is the perfect time to organize the documents in some system.  Some people use envelopes, some use notebooks, others use file folders while others put everything in cabinets.  My family uses a combination of these methods so income and expenses have one system and assets, liabilities and insurance policies have their own system.  Whatever system you adopt you should stick with that system so you can access the information you need when you need it.

               Now that you have a picture of your financial health you should evaluate how to protect yourself from unexpected calamities.  Insurance in its many forms is necessary to provide protection for your assets and income while minimizing the chance creditors could subject your assets to claims. Property and casualty insurance can protect against damages to your house, car and other property.  Life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance and long term care insurance can provide replacement income or provide funds to pay large expenses.  Liability insurance, as a part of property and casualty insurance, in an umbrella policy or other policy, protects against claims someone could make in case of an unforeseen event.  You should review your current policies and consider the protections necessary for your long term financial health. The more income and assets you acquire the more protection is necessary.  

               After your financial review you should consider who you would want to manage your assets and make medical decisions in the event you are unable to make those decisions. The law does not automatically designate someone to make decisions in case of incapacity.  If powers of attorney are not executed then guardianship and/or conservatorship proceedings may be necessary.  When considering whom to appoint to handle matters in case of a disability you should consider who has the ability, time and honesty to make the necessary decisions based on your current and anticipated situation.