While most people hate to think about illness, disability and death, it is a part of life. When you are least expecting it, you or a loved on can become seriously ill. It is best to plan for these scenarios ahead of time. Consider the following:
- Who will take care of me when I become seriously ill?
- How will I be able to take care of my finances and pay my bills?
- Who will care for my children?
- Will I be able to afford an illness?
- Do I want to be on life support?
- Who will help me communicate with my doctor?
These are all questions that you should take the time to consider. If you do not have a solid estate plan in place, the results may not be what you expect or want.
Health care directives are powerful tools that allow you to plan for future disability or death. This will enable your wishes to be followed.
- Advance Health Care Directive – An advance health care directive (AHCD) helps to outline what your wishes are during serious terminal illness. In your AHCD, you will include your wishes for life support. This means you have the option to choose if you would like to die peacefully or be hooked up to machines. An AHCD also enables you to choose an agent who will help make important medical decisions when you are unable to do so yourself. This person will follow your wishes. It is important to choose someone who is responsible, trustworthy, and loving.
- Financial power of attorney – This allows you to select an agent who will help to handle your finances if you are unable to. This includes paying bills, filing tax returns and depositing and withdrawing your money. This person should be responsible, trustworthy, and a good communicator.
- Revocable Living Trust – For persons with more than a very modest estate, a revocable living trust is general a superior way to ensure that your financial affairs are effectively managed in the event of your incapacity.
- HIPAA – A HIPAA release makes it possible for a health care professional to communicate with your health care provider. This helps to keep your information and records private unless authorization is given. HIPAA is the abbreviation for a federal law that imposes privacy limits on a person’s medical information.
With the help of a qualified, experienced estate planning and elder care attorney, the above tools can be put into place to help plan your future in case of serious illness or death.
If you have questions about health care directives, unexpected disability, or estate planning in general, consult with a qualified, experienced estate planning and elder care attorney.