Worried about your will? That piece of paper is important, but not nearly as important as three other documents that will protect you, your estate and your personal wishes before you die.
Make sure you have these drawn up so that crucial decisions are made the way you want them to be, and not by a stranger or greedy relative — or the probate judge.
- A durable power of attorney for healthcare. This is the person who will make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own.
- A durable power of attorney for finances. Same as above, but this person will be in charge of your money and investments, and make all financial decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.
- A living will. This tells doctors exactly what kind of care you do and don’t want if you are terminally ill or injured and unable to communicate your wishes. This can be anything from a Do Not Resusitate Order to refusing blood transfusions, right down to when to remove feeding or breathing tubes.
Remember, even if you’re married, you need a backup other than your spouse, in case he or she is killed or incapacitated, too. Sounds terrible, but the whole point here is to be practical.
Plan to review and possibly revise the documents every year or two — or sooner if your health or financial picture changes.