Every adult could benefit in some way from the creation of an estate plan. Unfortunately, many people fall into one of two common estate planning traps. They procrastinate for so long that an emergency arises before they create documents or they only create protective documents for their loved ones and do nothing to address their future health concerns.
Every estate plan should include testamentary documents like a will or even a trust to control the distribution of the decedent’s property and put protections in place for their dependent family members, but that is not all the estate plan needs to do.
There are numerous situations in which a legal adult can no longer handle their own financial matters or legal decisions. The average person would benefit from including plans for their own incapacitation in the event of a future health emergency.
Advance directives are for everyone
A new adult who just turned 18 can create medical directives and powers of attorney so that there are others who can make medical care choices for them in the event of an emergency. Older adults anticipating the decline that comes with age may want to name someone to care for them now so they aren’t at risk of involuntary guardianship later.
Advanced directives give someone an opportunity to explain their medical preferences, whether they worry about pain management because of a family member’s struggle with addiction or they have moral objections to certain treatments or procedures. Powers of attorney can be equally important, as they allow adults to name someone they trust to handle their healthcare decisions in the event of an emergency.
You can always build on your existing documents
Those who are not married have a particular need to plan ahead and name someone to manage their personal affairs in the event of an emergency. Even if you have documents already in place, you may need to add more to your plan. Realizing that you need to rework or expand your estate plan does not make your prior investments in planning a waste.
You can always add new documents to your existing estate plan or use the existing documents as the basis for the new set. People who take the time to think ahead and protect themselves from future medical emergencies will ensure that they receive appropriate support and will help diminish how stressful such situations are for the people that they love. Adding advance directives to your estate plan will ensure you have protection in a broad range of circumstances.