When you first begin to put together your estate plan, your primary goals may have more to do with leaving something to the ones you love than caring for your own needs. Unfortunately, this can cause major problems if you don't include some important documents about your own personal preferences.
Some estate planning documents deal directly with your end-of-life choices and establishing a plan to care for your needs if you suffer a disability or long-term illness. For your own sake and for the sake of those who love you, be sure to include these documents in your plan, so that you don't waste valuable time and resources if you do suffer a serious injury.
Outlining your medical care preferences
Few things cause problems between family and loved ones like conflicts over the medical care of someone who cannot communicate for themselves. To keep conflict and anxiety low among the people who care for you, it is wise to make sure that your preferences are clear about the kind of medical care that you will accept or refuse. You can outline these preferences in a living will.
In conjunction with your living will, you should consider granting a specific person medical power of attorney. A person who has medical power of attorney has the legal authority to enforce your medical preferences and even make decisions on your behalf if your living will does not address some particular issue.
Caring for your needs
If you are incapacitated, your basic needs continue. Many people address this issue by establishing a revocable living trust and placing their assets in the trust, then appointing themselves the trustee. In this way, they enjoy the protections of a trust, but still maintain control of their assets.
With this approach, you should also appoint some other person to act as a trustee if you can no longer make decisions. If you are incapacitated later on, there are fewer complications paying your ongoing bills and meeting your daily and regular needs.
Caring for yourself is caring for the ones you love
Sometimes it is tempting to prepare a legacy for others to enjoy without first caring for our own needs. In the moment, this may feel like a generous choice, but it is not always that simple. By taking time to cover your own needs and clarify your medical care preferences, you remove burden and worry from the shoulders of your loved ones.
Taking the time to help the ones you love avoid needless grief by taking care of yourself and making your wishes clear keeps your rights secure and your priorities safe, no matter what life brings your way.