Very few of us want to contemplate our own demise, and this is especially true if you expect that to be decades in the future. However, in addition to an unexpected passing, estate planning can also provide for incidents that may also require some legal resolution, such as debilitating accidents or a temporary severe illness.
We're all familiar with the need for a last will and testament, but there are other documents you should have prepared "just in case:"
- A living will explains what type of medical care, life-sustaining or resuscitation efforts, and pain medications you wish to receive if you are near death or in a persistent vegetative state.
- A durable power of attorney designates who can make financial decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so yourself.
- A health care proxy allows a designated person to make medical decisions for you.
For a more detailed discussion on early estate planning, check out this article.