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Most adults need to plan for future medical emergencies

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2023 | Estate Planning

The estate planning strategies employed by many individuals are often far too simplistic to meet their needs. Not only do a large number of people procrastinate about estate planning, but they may do only the bare minimum by designating beneficiaries for their biggest assets and possibly naming a guardian for their minor children. However, the average person can benefit significantly from putting together a more comprehensive estate plan.

Specifically, they might want to think about not just their death but the possibility of future incapacity caused by medical emergencies. With the right legal paperwork, it is possible for people to largely shield their interests in the event that an injury or illness renders them unable to advocate for themselves.

How can people plan for a scenario that leaves them medically incapacitated?

They clarify their medical wishes

Putting together an advanced directive is one of the most important estate planning steps an individual can take. Family members will otherwise have to make very difficult choices if someone gets hurt in a car crash or collapses due to an embolism. People may not know or may even argue about someone’s wishes regarding pain management, life support and anatomical donations.

To shield loved ones from conflict or a sense of guilt over the choices they make, as well as to ensure that one’s wishes guide the treatment they receive, older adults will want to put together an advance medical directive. Sometimes called living wills, these documents outline medical wishes and can even name specific care providers and facilities that they prefer to provide their treatment. Thorough advance directives provide clarity for loved ones and a sense of security for those drafting the documents.

They empower someone they trust to act

Someone in a coma or unable to communicate because of severe injuries won’t be able to manage their affairs as they usually would. The longer they remain in a medically vulnerable situation, the more likely they are to fall into arrears financially or have other practical challenges arise. Drafting powers of attorney can allow someone to name an individual they trust to pay their bills and manage their other personal responsibilities. That way, someone’s resources will remain intact and their circumstances will remain stable even though they are not in a position to manage their household or their accounts.

Thorough planning helps to ensure that even under unforeseeable circumstances, people can receive appropriate medical treatment and can feel confident about the maintenance of their finances. Adding advance directives and powers of attorney to an estate plan can be a very valuable choice for anyone over the age of 18, especially those with no spouse to speak on their behalf.

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