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The Unexpected Will Happen

            As some of you know, on Monday morning last week, I woke up to messages from my mom and other family members regarding her fall overnight and need to be hospitalized.  She subsequently had surgery to repair a significant fracture in her left femur.  It was a blessing to be able to clear my schedule for the week, change my flights, and get back to Ohio to be with her before and after her surgery.

            It was almost four years ago that I severely injured my right knee while lobbying in Washington, DC.  The events of last week and the reminder of my own injury are prompting me to once again remind you that the unexpected will happen, and usually at a time when it’s most inconvenient, so you need to be prepared as much as possible.  Murphy’s Law is alive and well!  In this article and the next, I want to share some practical tips for dealing with and being prepared for Murphy.

  1. Be sure you have updated your emergency contacts.
  2. Make sure there are ways for trusted people to get into your home.
  3. If you live alone and are above a certain age (I’ll allow you to determine what that age is), you should have some sort of home security system or service so that in the event of a fall or injury, you do not have to crawl or drag yourself up a stairway to get to a cell phone.
  4. Make sure you have an emergency fund of cash in your home or in a money market savings account that you can quickly access at these times of emergency.  Remember, it’s an emergency fund, not an investment account, so don’t go looking for some great rate of return.  It’s intended to be a comfort cushion you can access when needed.
  5. If you have a security code that locks your phone, hopefully you have a trusted person in your life that you can share that code with so your phone can be unlocked if you are not able to do so.  This would be particularly helpful to the person who is your emergency contact so they can notify other family members and friends if you are in the hospital and unconscious.
  6. Make sure all your important papers are in a safe, fireproof location that only trusted people can access.  Include a list of important website passwords and login information so that in the event of a long, unanticipated illness, others can access your electronic accounts to pay your bills, etc.  Make sure you’ve updated your written power of attorney form to include online and digital access and authority to your attorney-in-fact.

            This is not a comprehensive list, but these things are prudent and wise for all responsible adults to do.  My next article will focus on specifics related to an area that is going to be of increasing importance for anyone who owns real property.

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