As we age, our lives change significantly. Often, we must seek assistance in everyday tasks and move to new living situations that allow us to get that help. A looming fear for many is what will happen if they are incapacitated and are unable to speak for themselves. Fortunately, you can prepare for such a situation in your estate plan.
Guardianship and conservatorship
Guardians and conservators are two sides of the care coin for aging adults. You can appoint them within your estate plan, or by the courts should the need arise. A guardian is an individual that you choose to be the caretaker of your wellbeing if you become mentally incapacitated. They will see to your living situation and medical care.
A conservator, on the other hand, cares for the financial wellbeing of someone who is unable to. This means that they will pay bills, make daily purchases, make decisions about purchase and sale of assets, invest and file taxes.
Advance directives and power of attorney
Similarly, a healthcare power of attorney, also known as a proxy, will make medical decisions on your behalf, often dealing with end of life or life-saving treatments. They can make these decisions according to your advance directive, which is a document in which you state what type of medical choices you would like to be made on your behalf.
Though thinking about health as you age is scary, there are ways that you can take control and make decisions for yourself.