Young, Single, Childless and Broke? You Still Need an Estate Plan

/ January 10, 2012

Girl with Pinwheel - iStockIt is a common misconception that estate planning is only necessary for the wealthy or those with a spouse and children. However, all individuals, no matter what their financial situation may be, can benefit from preparing for the future with estate planning tools, too.

An estate plan includes more than creating a Will or trust to distribute your assets according to your wishes at death. An estate plan also includes planning for life. If you become incapacitated, who will handle your finances? Who will make your medical decisions? How long do you want to stay on life support? Having a Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney answers these questions and protects you in the unfortunate event that you become incapacitated.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that gives another individual the authority to act on your behalf. You have the ability to limit how much power the individual will have over your affairs and when the power is in effect. Without this document in place, a conservatorship or guardianship, both costly and time-consuming, would need to be granted through court proceedings if you were to become incapacitated. A complimentary Minnesota power of attorney form is provided by the courts.

Health Care Directive

A health care directive is a document that appoints an agent to make your health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. If you desire, you may include detailed medical wishes in the document, or you may simply have a discussion with your agent expressing your wishes. A complimentary health care directive is provided on this site.

We can’t forget the Terri Schiavo case. A highly publicized legal battle between Terri’s husband and Terri’s parents lasted seven years to determine who would decide whether Terri should stay on life support after a tragic medical crisis. If Terri had a health care directive this dispute would have been instantly resolved.

By meeting with a lawyer or by filling out these two simple documents on your own, you can ensure your “during life” wishes are carried out exactly how you want.


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