Many adults in Colorado procrastinate about estate planning. They know that they should have documents in place to protect their loved ones and take care of their property when they die, but they keep putting off the process instead of sitting down with a lawyer.
Others will put basic testamentary documents together, but a lot of people only have a will and no other estate planning paperwork on record. These people leave themselves and their loved ones without several valuable forms of protection. An estate plan can consist of just a will, but the best plans include multiple documents, each of which helps fulfill a specific role. Many adults in Colorado would benefit from adding both of the living documents mentioned below to their estate plan.
A living will
A will talks about what happens when someone dies, but a living will talks about their medical preferences in case of an emergency. After an incapacitating incident, like a stroke or a coma, a living will makes it clear what someone wishes regarding their medical treatment. A living will can name a specific medical facility or physician to oversee someone’s treatment. It can also clarify that person’s preferences for different kinds of medical care.
If someone has a religious belief that makes them oppose blood transfusions or they would prefer to not undergo resuscitation efforts if their heart stops beating, they can be clear about their wishes. Family members won’t have to make difficult decisions and worry about making a mistake if someone has a living will clearly talking about their preferences.
Medical power of attorney
A spouse is often the only individual with the legal authority to make medical choices on behalf of someone who is over the age of 18. Medical power of attorney grants an outside individual that same authority, allowing a friend, neighbor or sibling to express someone’s wishes to medical staff and to have access to the records about their treatment.
Adding the right living documents to someone’s estate plan can help to ensure that they have protection in an emergency instead of just peace of mind about what happens when they die.