Estate Planning for First Responders
Posted June 30, 2023
Estate planning is essential for everyone, regardless of their profession. First responders are in a unique position due to the risks associated with their important, and often dangerous occupations. Annually, 60-100 firefighters die each year in the line of duty. The cause of death varies; however, a majority of the deaths are attributable to sudden cardiac death. Imagine the stress your untimely passing will have upon your family, and the struggle that will ensue if you leave your family unprepared. Sudden cardiac death does not discriminate based on age any more than death itself does. Thus, it is critical that you prepare an estate plan.
In 2021, 129 law enforcement officers were killed while protecting their communities, many of whom died in incidents involving firearms. No matter how small of a risk is present, it is still important to have a plan in place so you know your wishes will be honored and your family can rest a little easier knowing you have an estate plan in place.
Firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and police officers put their lives on the line for their communities, and it is important for them to be prepared, both on and off the job.
In the event of a life-altering or deadly accident, having an estate plan will enable your loved ones to follow a clear pathway forward. There are several documents that first responders should contemplate when creating an estate plan:
- Creation of a Will: A Will is a legal document that defines how you want your assets distributed in the event of your death.
- Establish a Power of Attorney: Appoint a trusted individual as your power of attorney (POA) to assist in making financial and legal decisions on your behalf.
- Healthcare Directives/Living Wills: Similar to a POA, healthcare directives ensure that your wishes are obeyed in the event you are unable to make your own medical decisions.
In addition, you should consider any non-probate assets and their respective beneficiary designations. Life can throw us all a curveball, so it is important that you review your estate plan in conjunction with any beneficiary designations you may have completed.
It is incumbent upon you to prepare an estate plan in the event you become one of the statistics above. This will ease your family’s burden and allow them the opportunity to grieve your loss without the stress imposed by a lack of planning. Give me a call and I will help you design an estate plan that meets your unique circumstances.
Bill Hutcheson has been a volunteer firefighter over the past twenty years and is excited to walk you through his Estate Planning for First Responders process.
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