You have many decisions to make when you’re creating an estate plan. You shouldn’t become so focused on what’s going to happen to your assets that you overlook the importance of setting plans for your end-of-life care. There are a few things that you should get together so that your loved ones don’t have to try to figure everything out on their own.
As part of your plan, you should establish a living will and set up power of attorney designations. These can help to ensure that your wishes are followed even if you’re incapacitated. In order for them to be legally valid, you have to take care of them while you’re mentally able to make these decisions and understand the gravity of them.
What are power of attorney designations?
The power of attorney designations give the named parties the ability to make decisions for you when you can’t make them. You can choose someone to make medical decisions and someone to make financial choices for you. Make sure that the person you choose for each of these can do what’s best for you and make decisions that you’d approve of because they have the power to act on your behalf.
It’s a good idea to discuss some of your wishes with the parties you name on the power of attorney documents. This gives them an idea of what you’d want and how you’d make decisions if you were able to do so yourself.
What is the living will?
Your living will is a document that puts your wishes into instruction form. Medical professionals can review the document to know what types of care you want to accept and which you’ll reject. You can be as detailed as you want in the document. Think about things like comfort care measures, intravenous hydration or nutrition, and life-saving measures.
If you don’t want cardiopulmonary resuscitation or other similar measures, you need to sign a “do not resuscitate” order. This provides the clear and legal instruction for medical care professionals to bypass those measures if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating.
While having these estate planning documents set is important, it is just as important to review them periodically. You should make sure that they still reflect your wishes so you’re able to rest assured that they are clearly relayed. If you do need to modify them, ensure you do so in the method outlined by applicable laws.