There are times in our lives when we cannot convey our wishes as well as we would like. Perhaps a car accident, fall or illness led to a brain injury that leaves us in a coma or unable to communicate. Whatever the reason for the inability to share our wishes, we can take steps to help better ensure our wishes are known.
There are various legal documents that help us achieve these goals. These are a few examples of the type that are most important to include within an estate plan.
#1: Health Care Proxy.
This document allows you to appoint someone to make medical care decisions for you when you cannot make those decisions yourself. This can include the decision to use or withhold life support, dialysis, ventilation and artificial means of hydration or nutrition.
Appointing someone to make these decisions and discussing your wishes with that person, while you have the capacity to do so, takes this burden off loved ones. This can allow your agent the comfort, without the stress, of making these decisions on your behalf.
#2: Power of Attorney.
This legal tool provides the ability to name another individual (usually a family member) to manage financial affairs on your behalf. This authority can be temporary or permanent and often takes effect immediately. If you do not have a power of attorney and you become unable to manage your own financial affairs, it may become necessary for a court to appoint one or more people to act for you (via a Guardianship proceeding). The Power of Attorney allows you to decide who will manage your affairs (i.e., a family member or trusted friend) and avoids Court intervention.