It may seem silly to “plan” for a sudden illness. Nobody expects to get seriously sick out of the blue. However, an estate plan can enable you to spell out your medical wishes should you ever fall ill.
A sudden illness can strike anyone, regardless of age or risk category. That’s why it is never too early for you to begin thinking about the future.
Estate planning is about more than naming beneficiaries
You may think of estate planning as creating a will to pass your assets on to your beneficiaries. Wills are an important part of an estate plan, but they are not the only part. An advanced health care directive enables you to appoint a trusted individual who can make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Too many people overlook the importance of estate planning and medical powers of attorney. Less than half of adults in the U.S. have an advanced directive in place. The good news is it’s never too late to put together a comprehensive estate plan.
Updating an estate plan to reflect the current reality
You may have created an estate plan many years ago and haven’t given it much thought since. If that’s the case, you should consider making updates to your estate plan. Your needs and desires often change as you get older, and what made sense to you decades ago may not reflect your current point of view.
It’s useful to revisit your estate plan every few years. Doing so can help you identify your current goals, determine what may be missing and choose a path that meets your needs.
Considering hard questions now can avoid future problems
Thinking about a scenario where an illness has left you unable to communicate is not pleasant. However, should a sudden illness leave you incapacitated or unable to communicate, an advanced medical directive can provide you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wishes will be honored.