It is often a person’s sense of responsibility to others that prompts them to start estate planning. They want to make sure that their spouse won’t lose the house or that their children inherit certain assets so they put their wishes in writing when they get married or become a parent.
However, a comprehensive estate plan can also help protect you as you get older. In addition to setting aside property for certain people when you die, an estate plan can help protect you when you are older and medically vulnerable.
What are some of the ways you can protect yourself with estate planning documents?
You can avoid future financial hardship
If you suffer a stroke or wind up in a coma after a car crash, there may not be anyone able to pay your bills or access your bank accounts. When you do eventually recover from your injuries, you could find yourself with a repossessed vehicle or a pending foreclosure on your home. Creating a financial power of attorney helps ensure there is someone to manage your finances when you can’t pay your own bills.
You can control what medical care you receive
An advance medical directive provides your health care provider or loved ones with information about your medical preferences.
Do you feel strongly about life support or organ donation? An advance directive gives you the opportunity to tell your loved ones what decisions would best reflect your personal values. Your loved ones won’t have to struggle to make decisions, you don’t have to worry about receiving the wrong kind of care.
You can avoid a possibly inappropriate guardianship
Adult guardianships have been in the news a lot recently, largely due to abuses of this system. If you don’t plan ahead in case you become incapacitated as you age, it could be your least favorite child or a total stranger who becomes your guardian. You can potentially name someone to serve the same role that a guardian would with the right estate planning documents, including powers of attorney.
Thinking about your values and needs can help you draft estate planning documents that protect you in the event of a medical emergency.