For many people, estate planning is a very basic process. They draft a will that names a specially-chosen guardian for their children and beneficiaries to inherit their most valuable property, and that is the only step they take.
Although having a basic will is better than having no estate plan at all, it is always preferable to have more comprehensive protections rather than the bare minimum. A thorough estate plan that includes multiple different documents can do much more to protect you and the people you love if anything were to happen to you.
Adding the two documents below to your estate plan could be a smart decision, especially as you grow older and have an increased risk of a medical emergency.
- Powers of attorney
If you get into a car crash and end up in a coma, you might miss multiple months of mortgage payments and end up losing your home before you ever regain consciousness. You have the option of designating someone as your agent in powers of attorney.
You could draft a document for financial matters and also power of attorney for medical issues. Anyone who is not married but over the age of 18 could benefit from powers of attorney in case they have a medical emergency.
- An advanced medical directive
There are standards of care within the medical profession that determine what treatment people receive. Those with strong religious beliefs, serious medical issues or certain obligations may have strong medical wishes that actually deviate from the current standard or best practices in the medical industry.
If you want to receive care in an emergency that properly aligns with your personal values, then you need to put together an advance medical directive. People used to refer to these documents as living wills, and they contain clear instructions about what kind of medical care you want to receive.
From preferences on anatomical gifts to your thoughts on pain management, you can leave very clear instructions so that people act in your best interests rather than simply following what is currently the most common standard of treatment.