A serious health diagnosis can force some tasks – especially ones you’ve been putting off – to move to the top of the priority list. Will lawyers know that estate planning is one of these tasks that often leaves for another day. People don’t like to think about sickness or death when they are feeling well and have a sound mind. However, a negative diagnosis can quickly change things, and creating an estate plan is important. If you are facing a healthcare crisis, ideally you should get some basic estate planning documents in place to protect your family and assets. Here are three things to consider creating as soon as possible:
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney allows you to name someone to make financial decisions for you if you’re too ill to speak for yourself. Having a power of attorney document is also critical if you’re facing a long rehab or recovery period, as it will allow your agent to help you pay bills and keep your accounts current until you are able to take back control over your financial affairs.
A living will is a document that tells healthcare professionals your wishes regarding your medical care. It specifically involves the life-saving measures – or lack thereof – you want to be taken if you’re facing a serious illness. The living will is often part of a comprehensive Healthcare Directive, which also names an agent of your choosing who can make decisions on your behalf. Essentially, this document is just like a power of attorney except that it deals solely with healthcare concerns.
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will andTestament gives you the ability to plan the distributions to your loved ones from your estate. It may be a good time to re-examine an existing Will, if you currently have a serious illness. It is important to ensure that it still meets your needs.
The documents listed above are just the basics; there are a number of other estate planning documents and tools available, depending on your personal situation. You can speak to an experienced attorney to determine if there are any other documents you should consider using. You should check that your beneficiary designations on bank accounts, retirement accounts, and insurance policies are up to date.
To learn more about estate planning, please give us a call. Perhaps you would like to discuss your existing estate plan or create a new plan. We will set up a consultation for you, with one of our qualified Will lawyers.