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I Love Checklists ... plus a New Year's Checklist for you

| January 03, 2016
Financial Planning ... Life Planning ...Checklists

Checklists are well-known to save lives in aviation.  Not following checklists sadly creates the opposite result.

Although I’m quickly switching subjects, prudent use of a New Years’ checklist can potentially save a lot of heartache.  Here’s a quick example. 

Many financial institutions simply refuse to honor a Durable Power of Attorney (POA) if it was drafted too long ago … e.g. more than 3 years.  If for example you are married and financially dependent on RMD’s from your spouse’s IRA … and your spouse becomes incapacitated and unable to sign an authorization form to generate an RMD … you might be greatly inconvenienced.  You might have to go to court to have your spouse declared incompetent.  This process could cause embarrassment and … more importantly … delay.  Depending on your situation, an annual checklist to make sure your POA has been updated and will be honored by your financial institutions might be critical. 

As some readers might remember, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth I served 2-1/2 years active duty as a U.S. Army Quartermaster Lieutenant.  You might not be surprised that the military is a big user of checklists.  As I recall, there was even a checklist for writing a memo!

Fast forward to a year and a half ago and I had the pleasure of reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, MD.  Among many other things, Dr. Gawande explained that hospitals that successfully (but not easily) implemented a rigorous hand-washing program for all medical personnel enjoyed multiple benefits … as did the patients!  Yikes … I might have thought that hand-washing by medical care personnel inside hospitals would be “automatic” … but the reality is different.

When you visit your PCP (Primary Care Provider) do you first complete a “questionnaire?”  (aka “checklist of questions.”)  When you go through that questionnaire, perhaps you might realize that there is something that happened since your last visit that you need to discuss with your doctor?  Good … the checklist did it’s job.

In a similar fashion, here’s my bias.  Keep on top of the changes in your own financial situation ... and proactively keep critical other people "in the loop."  Those other people should include your Financial Advisor, of course... but also your beneficiaries and power holders ... especially an alternate or additional power holder just in case you and your spouse are both incapacitated ... or worse.

Check out the New Years' Checklist linked below.  I hope it helps.

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