A solid estate plan goes beyond a simple will. Planning for the event that you become unable to communicate is also important.
In addition to making your wishes clear, each of these documents also involves assigning responsibility to a person of your choosing who will make decisions and carry out tasks on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
1. A will
Writing a clear will ensures that your assets will pass to your heirs. It allows you to designate who will inherit your money, property and every other part of your estate. You designate an executor who will take responsibility for making sure that the distribution of your assets happens according to your wishes.
2. A power of attorney
In this document, you designate a person who will have the right to make financial, banking and business decisions for you if you ever become incapacitated through illness or injury. A power of attorney can sign documents on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
3. A health care directive
A health care directive allows you to make your wishes about your future medical care clear if you become unable to communicate. You can clearly explain your preferences regarding life-saving interventions and end-of-life care. You name a health care proxy in this document who will have the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf and carry out your wishes according to your directive.
You may name the same person as the executor of your will, your power of attorney and your health care proxy, or you can assign these roles to different people. Consider the responsibility of each position when choosing people you trust to fill the roles.