The year 2019 is coming to an end and many Californians are anticipating the beginning of a new year. Thoughts often turn to one’s legacy, which can lead to thoughts concerning estate planning and providing for the next generation. The importance of having a comprehensive estate plan in place is becoming more widely recognized. But what documents comprise a comprehensive estate plan? Health care directives may be among the most important.
People in California and around the country are living longer and enjoying good health well into their retirement years. However, no one gets out of this life alive and eventually one’s health may begin to fail. There is an estate planning document that can help in planning for how a decline in one’s health will be handled. The document is known as a living will or health care directive.
Unlike a last will and testament, a living will can be of use while one is still alive. If a person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated and so unable to make decisions for him or herself, the medical directive informs caregivers of the individual’s wishes. It can also designate a person who has authority to speak on one’s behalf and make health care-related decisions. Having this in place can be a priceless gift to loved ones who would otherwise be in a difficult position at a very emotional time.
Contemplating failing health or the end of one’s life is not typically an eagerly anticipated experience in California. Failure to plan for the end of one’s life can even result in family squabbles and discord. Engaging in comprehensive estate planning that includes health care directives can be a priceless gift to loved ones in this holiday season.