Estate planning involves more than determining what happens to your assets after you die. You should also consider how to manage your estate and health care if a time comes when you can no longer make sound decisions for yourself.
Here are three essential items to include in your estate plan.
1. General durable powers of attorney
Should you become incapacitated, you want someone you can trust to make financial decisions about your life. Creating a general durable power of attorney allows you to choose who makes those decisions. When drafting this document, you specify how your agent can spend your money and manage your assets.
2. Health directives
If you become sick or injured, you may be unable to communicate with doctors to express your desire for medical care. An advanced health directive outlines your wishes for treatment. You should consider if you want life-saving measures such as:
- Feeding tubes
- IV fluids
- Blood transfusions
Two options for documenting your healthcare directives are through living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care. Having these items in place ensures you still have a say in your medical care even when you may not be capable of verbalizing your wishes.
Being incapacitated also means you can not care for your minor children. If you do not have a spouse to care for them, identifying temporary guardians means the state does not make this decision for you.
Including these essential details in your estate plan ensures you maintain control of your life decisions if you become incapacitated.