Looking For New Year’s Resolution? How About Disaster Preparedness

Rincker Law Estate Planning, Food & Ag Organizations 1 Comment

Okay, so it’s not the most exciting New Year’s Resolution but it may be a whole lot more doable than dropping 30 pounds in 2012.  On page 5 of this month’s Grassroots newspaper by New York Farm Bureau (“NYFB”) includes a nice submission by A. Edward Staehr of NY FarmNet about coping with a disaster (including grief counseling, recreating lost records, stress management, cash flow planning, and debt restructuring).  I highly recommend FarmNet’s consultants:  they are well qualified and really understand the agriculture industry/culture.

However, there is a lot to be said for planning for the disaster beforehand.  For example, when is the last time you revisited your insurance policies (e.g., crop insurance, livestock insurance, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, etc.)?  Do you have these original documents in a safety deposit box?  Do you have your estate planning documents in order (e.g., Power of Attorney, Health Proxy, Living Will, Last Will and Testament, Living Revocable Trust)?  Is a succession plan in place in case the current management of a farm or agri-business is unable to continue managing the operation (death, disability, or illness)?  Do you have electronic copies of important far records?  Does your family have your in-case-of-emergency information (including passwords)?  Are your business organizational documents in order (e.g., LLC Operating Agreement, Partnership Agreement)?  Do you have enough cash in your emergency fund?

“Disasters” can come in many forms.  It could be a loss of a loved one, an unexpected law suit or family dispute, or an Act of God.  Make 2012 the year when you are prepared for the worst.  It may make you less stressed about the future.  And then maybe you will be able to lose that extra 30 pounds afterall…

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