It is true that estate planning often starts with asset distribution. You may be making your plan because you want to leave financial assets to your heirs and beneficiaries. You also want to divide things like sentimental assets or tangible items that you own. It’s wise to make a plan so that your family members know what you wanted and how this distribution should be done.
However, the mistake that some people make is thinking that asset distribution is all they need to consider when making an estate plan. The truth is that it can go far beyond this, and there are many other tools to consider.
Making future medical decisions
For example, medical complications are common when someone is growing older. As part of your estate plan, you may want to focus on making future decisions in case you are incapacitated and cannot do so yourself.
One option to do this is by listing instructions in an advanced directive. A common example is a Do Not Resuscitate order, which tells the medical team not to resuscitate you after you have stopped breathing or your heart has stopped beating. People will sometimes also indicate that they don’t want to be kept on life-support or that there are certain medical treatments they would like to opt out of.
Another option to make these decisions, though, is a medical power of attorney. Rather than directly making healthcare decisions in advance, you choose an agent who can make them for you. If you’re incapacitated, then your estate plan gives power to this person to work with your medical team.
Both of these examples show just how useful estate plans can be. Take the time to carefully consider all of your options when drafting one.