In estate planning, ideally, you want control over important decisions related to your assets and personal matters. This includes matters tied to your health and finances.
This is why it remains critical to include a health care directive as well as medical and durable powers of attorney as part of an estate plan. Your decisions are in place as to what happens to you if you become physically and mentally incapable of making decisions.
Assigning these tasks to trusted people
By not having a health care directive or durable powers of attorney in place, you open a Pandora’s box of potential problems for your loved ones, heirs and beneficiaries. This could lead to a series of arguments as to whether to keep you alive, and no telling what types of disputes would arise if you became comatose.
Without these safeguards in place, you are placing crucial decisions in the hands of people who may be uncomfortable or incapable of doing so. Here are quick summaries of these important documents:
- Health care directive or living will: It is critical that your instructions are specific. For example, details should include the types of medical treatment and drugs you are willing to accept along with the circumstances in which they should or should not be implemented. Also include whether you have do not resuscitate (DNR) or do not intubate (DNI) orders in place.
- Medical power of attorney: In this document, you have named a specific person to make critical health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This may come into play if you become comatose connected with a car crash or medical incident. Candidates for this role could be a spouse, adult child, trusted relative or friend and even your parents.
- Durable power of attorney: This document allows you to appoint a person to make financial decisions for you should you become incapacitated. Perhaps you have had a stroke, suffer from dementia or are comatose. A durable power of attorney has duties such as paying your bills, managing financial accounts and signing legal documents on your behalf.
Having these orders in place will save a great amount of time as well as any heartache caused to your loved ones who may fear making these decisions.
Peace of mind
An estate plan should be thorough and include addressing health care directives and powers of attorney. Sometimes, people may overlook such important details. A knowledgeable legal advocate will make your matters are in order. You and your loved ones also gain peace of mind.