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Creating a living will now helps protect you and your family

Far too many people put off comprehensive estate planning until they reach retirement age. For a significant number of people every year, that delay may prove to be too long. While life expectancy is generally in the seventies for most people in the United States, unexpected things can and do happen every day.

Accidents and sudden medical events can occur that leave you incredibly ill or even incapacitated and unable to communicate with other people. Take the time now to create not only a last will and estate plan, but also a living will that includes critical documents about your medical preferences and protects your wishes. It helps ensure your loved ones know what you need or want when you cannot speak for yourself.

Creating an advanced medical directive benefits people of all ages

Too many people think of an advanced medical directive as something only the very old or very infirm require. In reality, every adult with strong feelings about medical care should have an advance directive outlining their wishes.

Whether you hope to be an organ donor or do not want to receive a blood transfusion, an advanced medical directive helps ensure your loved ones know exactly what your wishes are. That way, there is no confusion and less potential for mistakes when other people are in charge of handling your medical care.

As you grow older, your wishes may change. The good news is that, just like with a last will, you have the ability to change the content of your advance directive. You should also discuss any changes in your personal preferences with the person you assign to handle your medical decisions when you cannot.

Pick the right person to act as power of attorney

Many people put very little thought into their power of attorney documents, because they simply choose their spouse. Your spouse is obviously somebody you trust and who knows your wishes and preferences.

However, in the event that you experienced a catastrophic medical issue, your spouse may not have the capacity to deal with the strain of caring for you and making medical decisions on your behalf. It may be kinder and more compassionate to assign that authority to someone else, such as a sibling or even one of your children.

Some people also choose close friends or neighbors in order to protect their entire extended family from the stress of making medical decisions in a difficult time.

Regardless of who you name, the most important thing is to take the step of creating an advanced medical directive and a medical power of attorney. You and everyone who loves you will know that your wishes will be followed if something unfortunate happens to you.

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