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Essential End-Of-Life (Legal Documents)

You will need legal authority to take charge of Mom or Dad's affairs.

Not all planning is about how you leave your estate to your loved ones after you are gone. In fact, some of the most important planning concerns should include making sure your loved ones have the legal right to take care of you later in life. Consequently, there are some essential end-of-life documents you really need to have in place to make this happen.

End-of-life planning has much to do with medical planning. Doctors can only do what you ask of them. But what if you cannot communicate your own wishes to them? What then?

Contrary to popular belief, your loved ones cannot automatically step in and make your medical care decisions for you. The common default alternative is a formal legal procedure that is expensive, time consuming and exposes your personal circumstances and finances to the public record.

If you want to spare yourself and your loved ones from this default legal scenario, be sure to read a recent Kiplinger article titled "4 Key End-of-Life Documents to Get in Order." The four documents?

  1. Durable Power of Attorney;
  2. Health Care Proxy;
  3. Medical Information Release; and
  4. Living Will.

These four legal documents need not be overly complicated, but they are important to have in place and at the ready. Whatever you do, do not put this planning on the back burner until it is too late!

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