Prepared To Meet Your Legal Needs

Can an estate plan help me to protect my own future?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Probate & Estate Planning |

Discussions of estate planning often center on the impact that an estate plan has – or can potentially have – on those left behind when someone dies. Proper estate planning helps preserve resources for someone’s family members or allocate assets for charitable causes. Establishing a meaningful legacy and providing for beneficiaries are both admirable goals that are important to achieve for peace of mind.

However, people frequently also worry about what may happen to them in an unusual situation. Perhaps Alzheimer’s disease runs in their family and they worry about developing dementia. Maybe the concern is that a college student could be at risk of having no one to handle their medical concerns in an emergency. Those with homes or small businesses need to think about what may happen to their resources if a car crash leaves them in a coma for several months.

Can estate planning help people address the risk of incapacitation, cognitive decline and other medical emergencies?

Estate plans can include living documents

While most estate plans begin with a will or trust, living documents are also important estate planning tools. Anyone could potentially benefit from powers of attorney. They can name someone to pay their bills and run a business if they become incapacitated. They can choose someone to handle their medical needs if they cannot speak about their own preferences. People can even draft durable documents. These documents allow people to choose agents to act on their behalf if they become permanently incapacitated, as might occur if someone has dementia.

Advance directives are another document commonly included in modern estate plans. A testator can provide clear instructions about everything from anatomical gifts and life support to resuscitation in an emergency situation. Those with different family circumstances and medical challenges have vastly different preferences when it comes to more invasive forms of medical care. Personal beliefs and religion can also influence what kind of treatments people accept.

A thorough estate plan can help someone protect themselves from a variety of challenges that could arise at any point in the future. Anyone over the age of 18, especially those who have not married or who have divorced, may benefit from adding powers of attorney and advance directives to their estate plans. Expanding on the most basic documents can give people protection in a broader range of circumstances.