No one wants to think about the end of their life, but the fact is that you really do need to do some estate planning so that you can arrange to have everything set up the way that you want it to be after you have died. Several things fall under the umbrella of estate planning. If you are going to do any kind of planning, you want to make sure that you are working with a lawyer so that everything can be set up correctly. So, what are some things that you should add to the estate planning process?
Advanced Directives/Living Will
One thing that you want to have is an advanced directive or living will. These documents will allow you to dictate what happens with your medical care. For example, if you don't want to have any heroic measures taken to extend your life, then you need to make sure that your documents state that fact. If you do want to have some measures taken, you need to explicitly state those measures and in what situations they can be used. Your documents should also state who gets to make the medical decisions for you. File these documents with your attorney, your doctors, at the hospital if you are having surgery, and give copies to whoever is making your medical decisions.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the right to make decisions for you about certain things. There are several kinds of powers of attorney, and you can have one person do it all, or you can break it down so that various people handle various things. For example, you might appoint your spouse to hold your medical power of attorney, but a different family member to hold your financial power of attorney. The person with the medical POA will be able to make all the decisions about your medical care, while the person holding your financial POA will be able to use your bank accounts and decide what to do with your various financial concerns.
You might not want to think about the end of your life and what is going to happen, but making all the plans ahead of time is going to make it easier on everyone when something happens. Doing some estate planning is the responsible thing, and it's never too early to do. You can always adjust things as necessary.