Updated: Oct 10, 2019
The odds of dying are 100%. Still, it's difficult for us to help the people closest to us to prepare for managing the business of life without us.
Do you manage the home finances? If yes, then who's prepared to take over if you're ill or even worse, die? If someone else handles the finances for your world, are you ready to take the reins at a moment's notice? Can you quickly figure out what needs to be paid next week, at month's end and the rest of this quarter? Those are some of the questions answered through NPC's Personal Contingency Plan.
Since opening NPC in May 2019, the Personal Contingency Plan (PCP) has become the most popular service with my clients. I am thrilled to see this because the plan helps clients complete the first month's worth of the Beneficiary Process Navigation. However, the PCP is much easier to accomplish before anyone dies. Assisting people to create their Personal Contingency Plan at a time when there's neither urgency nor an emotional loss is an ideal environment to create a thoughtful plan. Clients have time to address follow-up items such as:
creating a will/POA/living will
removing a former employee as an authorized signer on a business account
updating power of attorney from a deceased spouse to living children
revising retirement account beneficiaries because family relationships have changed.
I curated the following frequently asked questions from conversations with my clients in hopes that they will help you evaluate your contingency preparedness and readiness for a PCP.
Q1: Is the Personal Contingency Plan for older people?
A1: The PCP is for people of all ages. Initially, I thought it would appeal mostly to retirees. Then I was talking with some young women at a baby shower, and one woman said, "I'm nowhere near retirement, and I need a PCP. I just got married, and my husband and I both travel for work all the time. He has no idea about my finances, and I have no idea about his finances. You need to sell this to newlyweds!" I've come to see the ideal PCP clients as courageous and #PreparedOptomisticMortals.
Q2: Creating a PCP seems a bit pessimistic?
A2: The PCP is for optimistic people who are predominantly happy and healthy, and simultaneously aware of their mortality. The PCP is for people who care deeply for their loved ones and want to ensure they have the needed tools to succeed in times of stress and uncertainty. PCP clients don't want their loved ones to struggle to connect the dots in case of illness or death.
Q3: When I die, my loved ones will be wealthy. Why should I worry about creating a plan now?
A3: Congratulations for saving so much money to pass onto your loved ones! When you die, those closest to you will have so much to deal with emotionally, and that sadness won't be lessened by money. Although money can pay for many services, it is not easy to find professionals (like NPC) who can reconstruct how an individual conducted business. It requires a tremendous amount of time for the professional and your loved ones to collaborate on reconstructing your financial information after you're gone. It is also very challenging for loved ones to manage another person's finances while grieving. When you create a Personal Contingency Plan with NPC before your illness or death, your beneficiaries are eligible for a $3,000 discount on the Beneficiary Process Navigation when they need assistance from NPC.
Q4: Is a PCP useful only after I die?
A4: Not at all. A prospective client told me a story about her computer being hacked, and her online bank accounts were compromised. She explained how convenient it would have been to have had the PCP listing all of her automatic payments per bank account. The password book is also tremendously useful when you're locked out of your account. If you forget your password while traveling, you can contact someone at home to access your book. When your trusted individual needs to conduct business on your behalf, the password book is a lifesaver. Also, the contingency plan provides a single source of your critical documents that you can take with you in an emergency. It's an easy way to view your essential information for accuracy annually, or as needed.
Q5: I'm not rich, so why would I need a plan?
A5: If you create a PCP, then your loved ones may be able to address your personal business affairs without hiring professional assistance (like NPC). When you have limited assets, then a PCP is one way to help ensure that your loved ones won't need to spend their own money to find and close out your accounts. If your loved ones need NPC's help after your death, they will be eligible for a discount if NPC created a PCP with you while you're alive.
Q6: My finances are pretty simple. Why would I need a PCP?
A6: What seems simple to you may be complicated to an outsider. Until your trusted individual agrees that your finances are simple, there's a risk that your personal business will be complicated for anyone other than you to manage. To prove to yourself that your finances are simple, try reviewing your information with your trusted person who will be responsible and note their reaction and questions.
Q7: Can I gift a PCP to my parents, children, or friends?
A7: It depends. The financial investment for a PCP is $3,000. However, the personal time investment is often more difficult for people to commit to than the financial investment. PCP clients are required to allocate ~ twelve hours, spanning four weeks to complete the project with NPC. I work with clients via a combination of virtual meetings, in-person meetings with local clients, and a three-hour working session. The client also completes independent work (follow-up items, logging passwords).
Gifting a PCP to a loved one is an excellent idea for people who are motivated and have the right mindset. This year, I'm gifting a PCP to relatives for whom I'm executor. They are a good fit because they are willing to put in the time to make it successful. We will devote time during an upcoming vacation to finish the plan after collaborating remotely on the early foundation parts of the project. I am gifting the plan because it will be beneficial for this young family to assess gaps in their preparation. And, although I doubt I will need to act as the executor, one of them may need to manage the family finances at a moment's notice at some point during life. This couple lives life to the fullest, values planning for the future, and they know how quickly life can take an unexpected turn.
If you're interested in creating a plan, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a complimentary consultation online (link below) or by calling 610.504.4601 to discuss further.