All adults should have an estate plan in place so that their loved ones know what wishes they have about their final affairs and possessions if they pass away. Some people might not think about another aspect of estate planning, however: Controlling what happens if they become incapacitated prior to death.
In order to relay your wishes to others, you need to set up an advanced medical directive and a power of attorney.
What is an advanced medical directive?
Your advanced medical directive is important because it outlines what type of medical care you want and what kind you don’t want. This can include things like being placed on a ventilator, intravenous hydration and similar medical decisions. The advanced medical directive should be on file with your doctor and any medical center where you’ll receive care. Without it, the hospital may make decisions for you — and those may end up violating your beliefs.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the right to act on your behalf. You can set powers of attorney for your health care decisions and your finances. You can appoint the same person to both or you can choose a different person for each one — just be sure you choose someone you trust for each of these designations.
Good estate plans try to account for many different scenarios. Working with an experienced attorney is usually the best way to make sure that you have everything you need in place when an emergency happens or when the end of your life comes.