Making The Complex

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Estate planning documents for end-of-life matters

Considering end-of-life matters can be uncomfortable, and many people in Louisiana may prefer to simply not think about it. But ignoring something does not mean that it will not happen. Failing to plan for a future in which someone’s age or health might inhibit his or her ability to make medical and financial decisions puts loved ones in difficult positions for which they are likely not prepared. Here are a few estate planning tools that can be helpful for avoiding this outcome.

There are two documents that are used to uphold a person’s medical wishes — a living will and a power of attorney. A person’s living will should provide directions for medical care, including medical treatments he or she wants and whether life-extending care is acceptable. It is impossible to cover every possible medical situation that may arise, so a living will should be paired with a power of attorney for health care. The individual with the power of attorney can then make medical decisions on the other’s behalf while using the living will as a guideline. Choosing a trusted individual is important, as he or she may be tasked with making difficult decisions.

If a person is medically incapacitated, he or she will not be able to make financial decisions either. This means that bills may go unpaid or investments might be left unmanaged. Properly managing a person’s finances during a time when he or she cannot is a significant undertaking that requires access to accounts, financial records and more. Giving someone durable power of attorney over financial decisions is usually an excellent solution, but it is important to select someone who is financially literate.

There are unfortunately only a few consistencies in life, one of them being that death is unavoidable. Rather than avoid this thought, confronting it can give a person the opportunity to plan accordingly for end of life matters while also coming to terms with the matter. Using estate planning tools like living wills and powers of attorney are usually good options for Louisiana residents who are ready to take on this part of estate planning.


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