Estate planning is something that people often procrastinate about, and it is true that you may have time to plan your estate when you are older. However, there are no guarantees. People of all ages pass away on a daily basis, and you are taking a risk if you go through life without a will or a trust, and your family would ultimately pay the price.
You may finally relent and decide that you will create a simple last will so that you have some type of bare-bones plan in place. In fact, even a basic estate plan should include some additional documents.
Advance Directives for Health Care
Your estate plan should certainly include documents that address end-of-life issues. You may not be able to communicate your health care decisions before you pass away. To account for this, you should execute legally binding documents called advance directives for health care. One of these directives is a living will.
A living will is different from a last will or last will and testament. With a living will, you would record your preferences with regard to the utilization of artificial life support. Doctors can sometimes keep people alive for indefinite periods of time using measures such as artificial hydration, feeding tubes, and mechanical respiration.
Would you want to be kept alive through the utilization of artificial means? You would answer this question in a living will, and your own wishes would be honored if you were to become unable to communicate.
Another advance directive for health care that you would want to include in your plan is a health care proxy. This document is sometimes called a durable power of attorney for health care.
Your living will is not going to address every possible medical scenario. A living will largely centers around the question of the utilization of life-support. With a health care proxy or durable power of attorney for health care, you name an agent or attorney-in-fact. This person would act as your representative in the event of your incapacitation. The agent would be empowered to make health care decisions for you if you cannot communicate them on your own.
Financial Decision Making
When it comes to incapacity planning, you should also consider financial decision-making. To name someone to handle your financial affairs, you could create a durable financial power of attorney.
A will can be an effective estate planning tool for many people, but other options exist. Under certain circumstances, a last will would not be the best choice. You may want to discuss your unique personal situation with a licensed estate planning attorney before you decide that a last will is the transfer vehicle that is right for you.
If you would like to take action, contact us through this page to set up a free consultation: Southampton PA Estate Planning Attorneys.