When you fly commercial, the flight attendant will provide instructions on what to do in an emergency. You are instructed to put your air mask on before helping anyone sitting with you – including your children. If you are running low on oxygen and can’t function normally, you have little chance of helping your children. If you supply yourself with good air first, you’ll be better able to help your children.
The same is true for estate planning: if you want to protect your children and those you love the most, you must first take steps to protect yourself. Your estate plan can financially protect your children, and emotionally protect them by providing peace of mind. Estate planning isn’t just planning for when you die, estate planning provides directives in case you are temporarily unable to care for yourself and make your own medical and financial decisions.
During a health emergency, you may not be able to make decisions on your own behalf. These three advance directives can
1. Durable Power of Attorney
The law defines a power of attorney as a document that appoints an agent for either property or for healthcare. In Illinois, we have the Power of Attorney Act and it allows for powers of attorney for property and health care. They appoint an agent to stand in their shoes and perform various types of activities that they may or may not be able to do themselves. A durable financial power of attorney is commonly used in the event of someone becoming disabled and they are no longer able to make their own personal and financial decisions.
2. Health Care Surrogate
If you become incapacitated, who do you trust to make your health care decisions? If you don’t appoint a health care proxy, the courts will assign someone to make your medical decisions – and it may not be a person your trust. A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that allows one person to indefinitely make decisions on behalf of another.
3. Living Will
Creating a living will allows you to specify your medical wishes and ensure that your family members understand your health care choices. It is a signed, witnessed legal document that informs your health care provider of your wishes to withhold or withdraw medical intervention and end-of-life or healthcare decisions if you are in a terminal condition or are unable to make decisions about your medical treatment.
Women are traditionally the nurturers, and proactively make plans to protect their loved ones. An estate planning attorney can help women create an estate plan, and review and update it on a regular basis.
Women have unique concerns in estate planning – due to longer lifespans and lower earning power, women have more to lose if they are financially unprepared. Prepare for the future by contacting an experienced estate planning attorney at Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois at 630-800-0112.