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Do you need additions to your existing estate plan?

If you have an estate plan, you may assume that you have all the protection you may need for the future. While a basic will or a trust can help you protect your family's financial interests, there are steps you can take to ensure you address your health care needs as well. Through specific types of estate planning tools, you can make choices that allow you to decide what type of health care you will want down the road.

A health care power of attorney gives you the ability to make decisions on health care needs you may have in the future. You cannot predict the future, but you can decide what types of medical interventions you do or do not want in case you are ever in a position where you cannot speak for yourself. If you do not have this type of document, you may want to consider this addition to an existing estate plan.

What's in a health care power of attorney?

Like other aspects of your estate plan, a health care power of attorney should suit your unique needs and match your personal goals for your health. This is a document that appoints a person to make certain decisions on your behalf if you are in a position where you cannot express your own personal wishes. Typically, this person would only make decisions on things that you did not specifically outline in your living will. 

A living will and health care power of attorney work together to ensure that you get the care you want in the event of incapacitation. A health care power of attorney would only go into effect in the event that you are unable to verbally or physically express your wishes or you are in a state where you cannot understand the nature of the choices you are making. 

The steps for your estate plan

Everyone has different plans and hopes for the future. You cannot control what will happen down the road, but you can control what's in your estate plan. Through a health care power of attorney and other documents, you can have confidence and peace of mind regarding your physical needs in the future. An evaluation of your case and assessment of your needs can help you understand what you may need to add to your plans to have complete protection.

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