There are days when we realize how vulnerable life can be. Be it because we witness the death of a family member or simply because we realize we have a gray hair or two, we might come to think of the future and how we want our assets, treasures, or simply things of emotional value – the things we’ve worked so hard for – to be handled.
The thought of life ending does not cross our minds when we are young because we feel invincible. Our thoughts change when we become parents or witness others being hit by a long term illness. Therefore, I have come up with three of the most important documents that should be on your bucket list.
A living will is a legal document that an individual can use to make his or her decisions regarding life extension of medical treatments. You are able to indicate which treatments do or do not want applied to you in the event you either suffer from a terminal illness or are in a permanent vegetative state. This type of will does not come effective unless you become incapacitated. You would still be resuscitated, even if you had a living will indicating that you don’t want life prolonging procedures. A living will is only used when your ultimate recovery is hopeless.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
A “durable” power of attorney is a general, special or health care power of attorney that contains special durability provisions. If you become mentally incapacitated while you have a power of attorney document that’s already in effect, a durability provision will allow the document to stay in effect. It is important to select someone you trust. The relative, friend or business associate you choose to be your agent will be acting on your behalf regarding your financial or health care issues. You need to choose someone who won’t abuse the powers you grant to them and will look out for your best interests.
It is very important to have a will unless you want the state that you live in to decide what happens to your estate. If your situation is simple, perhaps you’ll be able to create one on your own or use one of those inexpensive computer programs. I particularly prefer to use an attorney who will write specifically what I want.
Wills aren’t just for the rich. In it, you can not only distribute your assets to the person you wish to ultimately keep them but, you’ll be able to write you last wishes – such as where and how would you like to be buried and planning your funeral from the music to the pall bearers.
In the end, it is your life and we all have only one to live.