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Reasons You Need Advanced Directives

Advance care directives are legal documents that provide instructions for healthcare. They go into effect if you cannot communicate your wishes. The two most common are a living will, which tells doctors how you want to be treated, and a durable power of attorney, which names an individual who can make healthcare decisions.

These legal documents are not just for people who are elderly or chronically ill. A medical crisis can occur at any time and leave you unable to communicate your healthcare decisions. Planning for your future health care helps ensure you get the medical care you want and that someone you trust will be available to make decisions. The areas to consider include:  completing a will, a living will for health-care advanced directives, and a durable power of attorney.

A “will” specifies how your estate — your property, money, and other assets — will be distributed and managed when you die. A will can also address care for children under age 18, adult dependents, gifts, pets, and end-of-life arrangements.

If you do not have a will, your estate will be distributed according to state law. This process can take several years to settle. Additionally, funeral arrangements are a subject we don’t want to think about. However, when it happens, your loved ones won’t have to handle it during the height of grieving.

An example of items of importance to list includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Sources of income assets like pensions, investments, traditional or Roth IRAs, 401(k), 403b, CDs, Social Security benefits, and business-related assets
•Insurance – life, home, car, pet, and long-term care policy numbers, agent’s name and phone numbers
• Names of your bank account numbers (i.e. checking, savings, credit union); Investment income (stocks, bonds, and property), stockbrokers’ names and phone numbers
• Credit and debit card names and account numbers
• Car titles and registrations
• Copy of current income tax return
• Location of most up-to-date will with an original signature
• Liabilities, property tax amount, county of residence, and payment due date
• Mortgages – how and when paid
• Location of original deed of trust for properties
Location of a safe deposit box and key.

A “living will” tells doctors how you want to be treated if you cannot convey decisions about emergency treatment. You can express the medical treatments and care you want, treatments to avoid, and under which conditions each applies.
A “durable power of attorney” for financial matters someone who will make financial decisions for you when you are unable.  A “durable power of attorney” for health care names your health care representative who can make health care decisions on your behalf based on your wishes. The benefits include:
• They empower individuals to decide about their end-of-life care in advance, ensuring their preferences are known and respected.
• These directives provide clear instructions to healthcare providers and family members, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings or conflicts regarding the type of medical treatment desired.
• Additionally, advanced directives allow individuals to specify their preferences for life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation, and organ donation, giving them control over their medical care even if they are unable to communicate their wishes.

By creating advanced directives, individuals alleviate the burden on their loved ones, sparing them challenging decisions during emotionally difficult times. Our Primerica Legal Protection Program (PLPP) can provide you with law firms throughout the US to assist you and your family in all legal matters. We recommend starting with creating a will for the benefit of your loved ones.

By Mahalia Boyd,
UniteNews Contributing Writer

Mahalia Boyd
Primerica Representative

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