There are those who think that they do not need to have an estate plan in place just yet because they don’t have significant financial resources to pass on to their loved ones and don’t have a spouse or children depending on them. And it is certainly true that estate planning becomes more and more essential as you assume more responsibilities for the welfare of others. However, as soon as you become responsible for your own affairs it is a good idea to consider visiting an estate planning attorney to talk about a long-term plan, which can include a retirement plan as well as an end-of-life strategy.
One of the things that is easy to overlook when you consider estate planning and elder law topics is the issue of incapacity. If you were to become incapacitated and unable to make health care decisions for yourself in real-time, who would make these decisions for you? The government has laws in place that dictate the answer to this question but these laws may or may not actually be resonant with your wishes. Fortunately you have the power to take control of the matter and take it out of the hands of the government by executing documents called advance health care directives.
The two advance health care directives that are commonly used are the living will and the durable medical power of attorney which is also called a health care reprenstative document. With a living will you state your preferences with regard to what types of medical procedures you would accept and those that you would prefer to deny in the event of your incapacitation. With a durable medical power of attorney you name an attorney-in-fact who is empowered to make medical decisions in your behalf should you become unable to make them for yourself.
Advanced directives are an essential part of every modern estate plan, and if you do not have yours in place, now would be a good time to arrange an appointment with your estate planning attorney to make sure that you have all your bases covered.