If you are ever injured, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself, you likely would not want a stranger controlling your medical treatment. A comprehensive estate plan can protect you if you’re ever in that situation. Preparing a living will and delegating a loved one the durable power of attorney gives you the power to put your care in trusted hands.
A living will, also referred to as an advance health care directive, is a document where a person can detail their preferences for end-of-life medical care. If you’re in a coma or sick with a debilitating illness, it’s important that your family members, physicians, and other health care providers know the type of treatment you want. An advance health care directive provides you the opportunity to detail your wishes for worst-case scenarios well in advance, sparing your loved ones the pain of having to make difficult decisions without your input. Unlike a traditional will, an advance health care directive only has power when the original writer is still alive.
Durable Power of Attorney
Granting someone the durable power of attorney means you will allow them to make important decisions on your behalf, in the event you are ever unable to do so yourself.
There are different powers of attorney. Often, people who are planning their estates will designate someone:
- The financial power of attorney, which enables that person to make financial decisions and transactions using your account and assets
- The health care power of attorney, which enables that person to make health care decisions on your behalf
Giving someone the durable power of attorney means that your assets, health, and well-being will be safeguarded by someone you know and trust—and who has a legal obligation to act in your best interests.
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