It’s something nobody wants to plan for, but everyone should. We all need to face the possibility of illness, injury and catastrophic health events. Most of us don’t even like to think about it, much less plan for it, yet that’s exactly what we should do.
When you’re in a stressful situation, you don’t need the added pressure of making snap decisions on important issues. If you’ve been a caregiver for a parent or other loved one, you may have already experienced the challenges of finding and providing appropriate medical care and living assistance. It can be an overwhelming responsibility, made even more difficult if there is no guidance or planning.
One of the first things to do is to create a will, a living will, and power of attorney. These will insure that your estate and your medical decisions will be handled in the manner you wish. It is essential to have these advance directives and to discuss your wishes regarding medical care and end of life with your family and your doctor. If you are unable to speak for yourself, your loved ones will then know exactly what to do.
Put your advance directives in a safe and accessible place, and let your family know where to find them should the need arise. This file should also include information on all of your property, investments, bank accounts and other important documents such as military discharge papers and insurance policies. If you become seriously ill or pass away, your family will then have all the information on your medical care and your estate at their fingertips. Critical decisions will not be left to speculation or chance.
Of course, there are no guarantees in life, but planning ahead can make the journey easier and much less stressful for you and your loved ones. Take some time out from your busy life to go over the “what ifs.” Do a little research now by visiting your attorney. Then you’ll be knowledgeable and prepared for whatever may come.