When you are looking into estate planning, one of the things you should remember is that it’s not all about passing on your assets. Certain parts of your estate plan are there to help protect your best interests and to make sure you’re cared for the way you want to be during your lifetime.
It’s important to have your living will in place as soon as you can. This will, which is also known as your health care directive, is designed to help you talk about your wishes for end-of-life and emergency care when you can’t make those wishes known yourself.
Whether you’re terminally ill or have a disability, a living will matters
With a living will, you have the opportunity to go over your wishes for medical procedures or medications that you do or do not want if you are involved in a serious accident or have an acute illness.
Your living will gives you the express opportunity to discuss your personal opinions on health care and to provide detailed information on your preferences, such as when you’d prefer not to be resuscitated or when you no longer want medical intervention.
Along with your living will, a health care power of attorney matters
With your living will, you should also consider setting up your health care power of attorney. This document goes over whom you’d like to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself. The person you choose should be someone who is willing to listen to your wishes or who understands the information that they’re being given. That way, they’ll make decisions that are in line with what you’d like to do under those circumstances.
From the time you’re 18, it’s wise to have an estate plan in place. Your living will is there to protect you during your lifetime, so there is no excuse not to have one in place now. You should review these documents and update them regularly so that you know that your wishes will always be understood. Once you establish your health care power of attorney and living will, discuss your wishes with your loved ones.