Q. My partner and I are concerned about the possibility of one us being injured or unable to work due to illness or unexpected accident. As an LGBT couple how can we put our affairs in order and create a contingency plan for that possible rainy day?
A. First, plan for your incapacity. Carry with you a wallet card with contact information for emergency caretakers. If you have a pet at home carry a pet card to inform emergency care providers that there is a pet in your house that needs care.
I also recommend having an ICE (In Case of Emergency) entry in the address book of your cell phone. That listing can help the paramedics call your LGBT partner or friend that you chose, if needed, while you are riding to the hospital in the ambulance. Also, make sure your apartment building, has updated contact information for you and who can enter your apartment and have access to the important documents to assist you. You may not want your niece that you have not seen in over 20 years gaining entry to your apartment because she is your closest blood relative.
Next, each member of the couple should make a will, power of attorney for property and power of attorney for health care and share the details of their financial affairs with each other. This should include the location of all assets and vital documents such as insurance policies, passbooks, deeds etc. Each person should list the names, addresses and account numbers of every bank, mutual fund and brokerage account; policy numbers for health disability and life insurance policies; car registration and title numbers; credit card numbers; employer pension account numbers, and make sure the other person has a copy of your list.
The lists should also include IRA accounts with beneficiaries, pension funds and profit sharing plans, annuities, safe deposit boxes, location of valuable antiques, jewelry etc. Include the names, addresses and phone numbers of your attorney, insurance agent, broker, accountant and other financial advisers. Keep one copy of the list at home, a second in your safe deposit box and a third at your attorney's office.
Review all life insurance policies to make sure the primary and contingent beneficiaries reflect current intentions. Exercise any rights to purchase additional life insurance on existing policies.