Getting your estate plan together is one of the most important things you can do as an adult. While most people think of wills and trusts as the only estate planning components, having your end-of-life plans in it is critical.
Your end-of-life plans include your advance directive and power of attorney designations—these work to ensure that your affairs are cared for when you can’t do it yourself.
What does the advance directive do?
Your advance directive is a document you provide to medical care team members that tells them what type of care you’re willing to receive and what you refuse. Some refusals, such as a do not resuscitate order, have a particular form you must complete. Other refusals can be written in the advance directive, such as a refusal to have artificial nutrition.
What does a power of attorney do?
Two areas need a power of attorney designation. One is for your health care. The other is for your finances. The person you name on the power of attorney form will be able to make decisions on your behalf. You should choose someone responsible and who will do things according to your wishes and not their own.
The health care power of attorney won’t trump your advance directive. Instead, the person will make decisions that aren’t covered in that document. It may help if you speak to them about your wishes so that they can make decisions in accordance with them.
The financial power of attorney takes care of all your financial matters. This includes paying bills and collecting money. They can also sell, trade, and buy assets on your behalf. Essentially, your power of attorney can do anything you could do with your money.
Making sure you have all your affairs in order can give you peace and help your loved ones to be less stressed in your final days. Working with someone who understands your circumstances is crucial.