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Why an estate plan should include emergency directives

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate, Wills

Many California residents likely think of estate planning as simply a tool to distribute your assets after your death. You may not have considered what could happen to your assets if you suddenly become incapacitated when you are young. Who will make medical decisions and care for your personal and financial needs?

Creating an estate plan for a medical emergency

Elder law includes many different components of estate planning. Most people are familiar with creating wills and various trusts to protect their assets and ensure their wealth is distributed according to their wishes. Putting these elements in place can also help with your tax liability while you are still alive and limit tax liability for your beneficiaries.

Just as important in a comprehensive estate plan is creating documents like a financial power of attorney, designating who will take care of all your money matters. A separate document, a medical power of attorney, also called a healthcare directive, gives a designated person the right to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, including surgeries, treatments, medication and end-of-life care. An additional document, called a living will, also allows you to specify your wishes regarding medical treatment, including do-not-resuscitate orders, if you become incapacitated.

Estate planning is for all of life’s stages

It’s never too early to begin preparing an estate plan. Catastrophic accidents can occur at any age, leaving you unable to care for yourself or express your wishes, either temporarily or permanently. Building a safety net for the medical debt should something unexpected happen when you are younger is another component you can build into your estate plan.

Some people mistakenly believe that once an estate plan is written, it can’t be changed. Create one early in life and periodically review and revise your plan and its directives according to your needs.


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