Your estate plan is the key to what is going to happen to your assets after you pass away. Many people don’t realize that this plan also needs to cover what is going to happen if you ever become incapacitated. These end-of-life plans are just as important because they can provide peace when your family needs it the most.
The end-of-life plans you need to think about include making provisions for your health care and finances. While they might not be pleasant to think about, they can help ensure that your wishes are done when the time comes.
Your medical care
You need two things established for your medical care: a living will and a power of attorney. The living will is the document in which you can outline what types of medical care you’re willing to accept and what you want to bypass. For example, if you want intravenous nutrition but aren’t willing to accept being placed on a ventilator, you can state this in your plan.
You can also name someone as your designated power of attorney for health care. This person is responsible for making decisions about your medical care if you can’t make them yourself. They work closely with your doctor to determine what’s best for your needs. If there are aspects of your medical care that aren’t covered by the living will, your power of attorney will make them on your behalf.
Someone will need to take care of your finances when you can’t. You can give someone the right to do this by naming them as your power of attorney for finances. This person can do everything that you’d do, including selling or buying assets.
The individuals you name on the power of attorney documents should be people you trust and who will be able to make decisions on your behalf when you’re incapacitated. While you might be tempted to defer to a spouse or another close family member, this might not be the best idea because they may become too emotionally involved to make decisions.
Discussing your estate plan in full with your family members is a good idea. This includes going over these end-of-life plans with them so that they know what to expect if the day comes when they need to be used. Remember to review the plan periodically to ensure it reflects your current wishes.