Early on, you likely established a retirement account to provide an income for when you are no longer working. Then you invested in life insurance to pay any medical or funeral costs and provide for your family upon your death. But what happens to you and your assets during that period when you are very much alive but no longer able to care for yourself and provide for your family? While your family may step in to handle your needs, do they know how you wish to be cared for during this time? A living will or health declaration provides your loved ones and your medical care providers with clear instructions on how you’d like to be cared for when you can longer carryout nor communicate your desires for yourself.
What Kind of Instructions Does a Living Will Provide?
If you’re near death as a result of a critical illness, maybe you prefer not to be resuscitated. Maybe there are certain invasive medical procedures that go against your personal morals such as the use of feeding tubes or antibiotics. Perhaps you don’t want to be kept on life-support machines if your body is not up to the task on its own. In either case, you can clearly state your wishes in your living will. You should also designate in your living will a trusted individual to act as a healthcare advocate, a person who will ensure your wishes are upheld, often referred to as a healthcare durable power of attorney.
However, a living will isn’t just about your healthcare preferences. If there comes a time that you can no longer make health decisions for yourself, it is highly likely that you would not be able to make financial decisions for yourself as well. It is just as important to outline how you’d like your finances maintained in the event of your incapacitation and designate a durable power of attorney for finance to ensure your directives are carried out. Much like the healthcare durable power of attorney mentioned earlier, a financial durable power of attorney keeps your finances in order according to your wishes. You can count on a financial durable power of attorney to pay bills, maintain your property, and address any other financial matters that may require attention while you are alive but unable to handle your financial affairs yourself.
As you can see, running your life is complex and requires the proper planning that a living will provides to prepare for a time when you might not be able to run your life as you did before. Establishing a living will makes your transition as smooth and as comfortable as possible while relieving those around you of the worry of how to properly care for you to the end.