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Three documents that impact your future choices

An unfortunate reality of aging is that you may not realistically be able to make all of your choices on your own. A stroke could leave you incapacitated or the onset of Alzheimer's could mean you're not always thinking clearly.

The good news is that you can plan for this future. You can make some of your choices now or set up documents giving that power to loved ones.

An advanced health care directive

An advanced health care directive, which can include a living will, gives you a chance to list end-of-life medical decisions before they have to be made. For instance, maybe you know you'd never want to be kept on life support if there was no realistic hope of recovery. The living will tells the doctors not to use it to keep you alive. This takes pressure off of your family and ensures that your wishes are followed.

A health care power of attorney

The advanced health care directive can also include a health care power of attorney. A health care power of attorney allows you to appoint a health care agent who is your decision-maker in the event that you are ever unable to make your own decisions regarding your health care.

A durable or financial power of attorney

The durable, or financial, power of attorney can address a multitude of legal or financial choices you may need to make that only you can take. This could include actions like paying taxes, accessing your bank account, cashing Social Security checks and things of this nature. 

As you can see, estate planning is about far more than writing a will for when you pass away. Make sure you carefully consider all of your options and the various documents that can help. For additional information, contact an estate planning attorney at the Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222.

Source: US News, "10 Essential Estate Planning Tips Everyone Should Know," Teresa Mears, accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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