You might believe that the sole objective of estate planning is to benefit your family and other beneficiaries after your death.
However, a durable power of attorney for finances together with an advance health care directive will provide benefits for you during your lifetime.
Value of an advance health care directive
Perhaps you develop a serious illness or suffer injuries in a car crash. If you become incapacitated, the person you name in an advance health care directive can make health care decisions on your behalf. This person, your agent, can decide the kind of medical care you receive including surgery or home health care. If necessary, the agent can also make decisions about assisted living or nursing home care. Your responsibility is to choose as your agent a friend or relative you trust to make such decisions for you.
Benefits of a power of attorney for finances
You can also create a power of attorney (POA) for finances and name an agent to assist if you are not able to manage this part of your life. Along with other financial responsibilities, your agent can access your bank accounts, pay your bills, file your tax returns, make investment decisions and manage any real property you own.
A proactive approach
Choosing to establish an advance health care directive and a POA for finances is a good decision and one you should not wait to make. Aging often brings some form of dementia. These important estate planning documents are legal only as long as you, the principal, create and sign them when you are mentally competent. Keep in mind that you can revise or even revoke these documents whenever you wish.