All adults should have a last will and testament, living will, and a health care power of attorney.
When you are a child, you depend on your parents.
If you get sick, they call your doctor, take you to the appointment, and give you the prescribed medicine.
You depend on them for food, clothing, and shelter.
After all, they have way more money than you do.
It is their responsibility to provide for you and protect you.
According to a recent AZ Central article titled “What to know about wills and health care power of attorney in Arizona,” adults also may need support from others in times of need.
Turning age 18 can place you in a precarious situation without proper estate planning.
Accidents or serious illnesses can come at any time.
To protect yourself and your loved ones as an adult, you should have a health care treatment directive, a health care power of attorney, and a last will and testament.
Unfortunately, most Americans have not prioritized these basic, protective measures.
According to a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management study, only 18 percent of those age 55 or older have these documents.
Those who do not have these documents in place will leave loved ones to guess their wishes in an already stressful time.
What happens if you have only one of these documents in place?
Your loved ones may still have to petition the courts to act on your behalf.
A last will and testament, health care treatment directive, and health care power of attorney have different functions.
A health care power of attorney allows you to name an agent to make decisions regarding your medical care if you are incapacitated.
A health care treatment directive is also known as a living will .
With this document, you can provide directions regarding end-of-life care.
You can designate what life sustaining measures you would like to be taken (or not taken or withdrawn) by the medical staff.
Unlike a health care power of attorney or a health care treatment directive, a last will and testament allows you to designate who receives your assets when you die.
You also can choose the executor who will settle your estate as well as a guardian to rear orphaned minor children.
Having each of the documents in place is essential to incapacity and estate planning.
You should discuss your wishes with and provide copies to those named in your last will and testament, health care treatment directive, and health care power of attorney.
Because the individuals may be unable to serve when the need arises, it is wise to select alternates as well.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to take the first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones.
Reference: AZ Central (Jan. 14, 2021) “What to know about wills and health care power of attorney in Arizona”