Legal Planning Essential

Last Will and Testament rolled up with reading glasses and pen isoated on white with a black ribbon and health care directive: Advance Care Planning

Establishing a solid financial and legal plan for yourself or for a loved one is an essential part of preparing for the future as we age-especially before a medical crisis or life-limiting illness is upon us. Few people bring up conversations based around end-of-life care, its not a subject we want to openly talk about. Unfortunately, most people end up dealing with a current crisis for which there’s been no preparation. As we face aging and the need to make plans for our future, legal decisions about many aspects of our lives come up. These legal decisions not only protect us from others doing things we might not like, they also protect family and loved ones by giving them guidance in the care that you would like to receive.

Have discussions with family members and loved ones about your wishes. It may be a difficult subject to tackle, but talking about what you’d like to have happen should you become incapacitated toward the end of your life can prevent a lot of future issues and relieves family members of decisions they may not want to make. What interventions do you want or not want under what circumstances? Creating a formal advanced directive will help answer and clarify these types of questions.

Designate legal representatives, such as, a Legal Guardian, Power of Attorney for healthcare matter, or a Power of Attorney for financial matters. It is important to choose wisely in these areas to fully protect your interests. Choose a family member, loved-one or friend you know you can trust to follow through on your behalf. Lastly, get your finances in order. It’s important to figure out how you’ll pay for the care you may need, and to leave a clear, understandable plan for the person who may eventually take over your affairs. You can start by speaking with an investment advisor if you haven’t already done so. If you don’t know your or a loved ones current net worth-take stock of assets and liabilities. Have discussions about long-term care insurance, hospice care and other end-of-life services you may need one day.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the details of legal planning, and some elements may not apply to each situation. Take time reviewing this type of information. Have conversations with your physician or family members about the legal plans you would like in place.