Estate planning can seem daunting but is one of the best things you can do to take care of your family and your own concerns about the future. Estate planning is more than just a will and includes a variety of different important legal documents that help ensure loved ones are cared for and the estate planner’s wishes are fulfilled.

It is important for estate planners to plan for what will happen if they become incapacitated and are no longer able to direct their own medical care and treatment or financial affairs.

Healthcare directive

An advance healthcare directive is a legal document that designates a trusted loved one, friend or family member to make important decisions for the estate planner’s healthcare and medical treatment if they become incapacitated and are unable to do so for themselves.

Healthcare directives are sometimes referred to as living wills. They typically include what types of medical care and treatment the estate planner wants, or may not want, including resuscitation, different medical treatments and quality of life considerations as well. Depending on the document, additional authority may be granted to the person designated to make decisions for the estate planner.

Power of attorney

A power of attorney can be used for healthcare matters but can also designate a trusted loved one, friend or family member to direct the estate planner’s financial affairs if they become incapacitated and are unable to do so for themselves.

Estate planners who have an advance directive and power of attorney can rest easy and have peace of mind that they will be taken care of and their loved ones will not have to make difficult decisions during an emotional time. Having an advance healthcare directive and durable power of attorney in place can help ensure the estate planner’s wishes are honored and they and their loved ones will not have to worry about what those wishes are.