Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Communication with loved ones is more important than ever as we stay connected while living apart.
Thursday, April 16, is National Healthcare Decisions Day. Whether you huddle by phone or through virtual chat, experts say it’s a good day to take stock of paperwork and people to ensure your wishes about certain situations are clear.
Free Services from MetLife
To assist the U-M community during the COVID-19 pandemic, MetLife Legal Plans (formerly Hyatt Legal Plans) is offering U-M faculty and staff free access to its self-help library for the completion of wills, living wills/advanced directives and power of attorney documents. This access applies to all faculty and staff even if they are not members of MetLife Legal Plans through July 31, 2020.
For online access:
Go to info.legalplans.com and enter access code 9790010.
In the Covered Services Tab, click on Self-Help Documents.
Fill in the boxes of the documents you choose.
It’s important to note that living wills are not valid until they’ve been notarized and signed by you. Electronic and remote notarization is available through Michigan Secretary of State-approved vendors.
While it’s best to have wills and testaments notarized, these documents are legally binding with the signatures of you and two witnesses. Contact MetLife at (800) 821-6400 if you need guidance.
If you have U-M’s optional life insurance benefit or are enrolled in the university’s Legal Services Plan, you already have free access to wills and living wills/advanced directives planning, and you aren’t limited by the July 31 deadline. If you aren't enrolled, you can apply for optional life insurance at any time. For the Legal Services Plan, you can sign up during open enrollment in October for coverage effective January 1.
Virtual and Phone Services
In addition to its online library, MetLife will review your existing documents related to wills, living wills and estate planning by phone or virtual appointment. Call (800) 821-6400 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. You’ll be asked to identify your employer, give the last four digits of your Social Security number and indicate you’d like services as part of MetLife’s Disaster Relief Plan.
Are Your Beneficiaries Up-to-Date?
Keeping beneficiary designations current is one of the easiest and most important ways to protect your loved ones financially. If you or a family member have experienced a major life event – like marriage, divorce, birth of a child or death of a loved one – check to make sure your beneficiaries are still up-to-date.
Keep in mind that for U-M benefits, you need to designate beneficiaries separately through TIAA and Fidelity Investments for your retirement savings plan accounts, and through MetLife for life insurance.
Think About Estate Planning
Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. Proper estate planning is about making sure your wishes are carried out in many areas that impact health and finances. For help thinking through an estate plan for you or a loved one, watch this video of a previous presentation by MetLife that covers how to set and prioritize goals, tax considerations and 10 common estate planning mistakes.
Browse these additional resources for more tips to support your financial well-being.