But it could be too late.

power of attorneyYou’re pretty sure you’ll live for a good long time yet. When you’d rather be on the golf course or visiting your grandkids, why rush to take care of all of that legal mumbo jumbo you’ve been told you need? Because one day, out of the blue, you may wake up in a hospital or nursing home, and your family will be left to make all of your decisions for you.

Why do I need a will?

A will states who gets your assets after you’re gone. If you don’t have a will, the state decides (and who wants that?). Generally if you’re married with children, your assets will be split between your spouse and kids. But if you’re not married, it’s not as clear-cut. Despite relationships you may have with long-time partners, friends or caretakers, most states will choose among your blood relatives to inherit your estate (maybe the brother you never got along with).

Why do I need a living will?

Should you reach a point when you are unable to speak for yourself—in a coma, suffering from a stroke, dementia, etc.—a living will, also known as an advance directive or health care directive, puts your wishes regarding medical care and life-prolonging measures in writing. Some of the areas of medical care included:

  • Feeding and hydration while in an irreversible coma or in a terminal condition
    • CPR or defibrillation after cardiac arrest
    • Organ and tissue donation
    • Use of a ventilator when unable to breathe independently


Why do I need a durable power of attorney for health care?

To ensure that the wishes in your living will are carried out, a durable power of attorney for health care (sometimes called a healthcare proxy) designates someone you trust to act in your stead. A durable power of attorney can be immediate (go into effect as soon as it’s executed) or be springing based on a specific event such as a disability. You may want to designate the same person or another person to also be responsible for financial decisions when you are incapacitated.

Despite what happens to you down the road, your life is still yours. Make sure you retain control of all of it!

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