No matter how healthy you are, there is always the risk that you will become incapacitated and unable to make healthcare decisions on your own. However, this is especially a concern for the elderly, and those with long-term health problems that may worsen at any time. That is why, if you are putting an estate plan together, you should seriously consider creating a healthcare proxy so that your wishes are honored if these situations arise.
When you hear the phrase “estate planning” the first thing that probably comes to mind is a Last Will and Testament. But estate planning is broader than that and includes other important documents such as a power of attorney and an advance directive, also known as a health care proxy. These are essential tools in any estate plan, because while a Will dictates what happens to your assets after you pass, a properly written power of attorney and advance directive ensures you are taken care of during life when you cannot care or make decisions for yourself. Without them, you could be facing substantial difficulties later in life that you might otherwise be able to avoid. Here are five things that everyone should know about powers of attorney and advance directives when making their estate plans: