When faced with a serious illness, there are many things that feel out of your control. The sense of fear and helplessness can seem overwhelming. Believe it or not, there are steps you can take to regain a sense of control. By creating a lasting legacy for yourself, you can ensure the easiest possible future for your loved ones, and the security of remaining in control of many aspects of your own life.
Nobody knows what the future holds, but when your health is on the line, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Estate plans can help ensure your wishes are respected should you become incapacitated or pass away. Regardless of whether you have existing estate plans in place or if you are starting from scratch, take these steps to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones:
Create or Update Advanced Healthcare Directives
Thinking about end-of-life care is never an easy thing to do or talk about. After being diagnosed with a serious illness, though, it is important to consider how you would prefer to be cared for when you cannot speak for yourself or make decisions on your own behalf. Should you become incapacitated, it is crucial that your loved ones and healthcare providers have a record of your wishes. Advanced healthcare directives help explain your preferences for things like comfort care, if you want a feeding tube, and even whether or not you want to be put on life support.
Designate a Medical Power of Attorney
Documenting your preferences for end-of-life care is just the start. While you are making such important arrangements, you should consider appointing an agent for your medical power of attorney. This person can make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity or disability to make these decisions yourself. Your advanced healthcare directives can serve as a guide for many of these decisions, but your medical power of attorney will be there to make additional calls as needed. Appoint this person carefully as they may one day face difficult choices about your treatment.
Update Beneficiary Designations
When you opened your retirement account or life insurance policy, you likely listed a loved one as your beneficiary in case of your passing. Things change over time. The people you chose as beneficiaries then may no longer be a part of your life now. If you have gotten married, divorced, or had kids in recent years, you may be overdue for updating your beneficiary designations. Take a moment to make sure your plans reflect the relationships that mean the most to you now.
Meet with an Estate Planning Attorney
It can be scary to plan for the future when you are not sure what lies ahead. The experienced team at Hegwood Law Group has the knowledge to help you understand your options and ensure your plans are carried out as you intend. To learn how you can best protect yourself from a potential guardianship matter, schedule a strategy session online or call our office at (281) 885-8826 today.