Besides Inheritances, What Else Is Critical to Estate Planning?

When many Georgia residents begin thinking about getting their affairs in order, they tend to think about how to divide up their assets. They may already know that some of their children or other close relatives have expressed interest in certain items, or they may simply want to divide everything in broad strokes. While asset distribution and inheritances certainly are an important part of estate planning, it is crucial not to overlook health care-related decisions as well. 

Unfortunately, any adult could end up in a life-threatening medical situation at any time. In these cases, they may reach a point of incapacitation and be unable to make sound decisions for themselves. As a result, someone else will have to step in and make those choices for the person. If the patient has not created legal documents to appoint a person ahead of time for such a scenario, loved ones may have to take legal steps themselves to gain that power. 

Planning ahead could help avoid delays, confusion and tension in an already stressful situation. Adults of any age could create the following documents to explain their wishes: 

  • Health care power of attorney: This type of power of attorney can allow a trusted person to step in to make medical decisions for someone who is incapacitated. 
  • Living will: This document can explain how a person wants his or her medical care handle under certain circumstances, such as whether the person wants all life-sustaining treatment, whether only comfort care should be provided in terminal situations and other important instructions. 

These two documents may not seem like much, but they can go a long way in bringing peace of mind to loved ones and those who are estate planning. By ensuring that this information is legally binding and known to the applicable parties, confusion may be lessened, and treatment may be received in a more timely manner. If Georgia residents are ready to create these documents, working with experienced attorneys may be wise. 

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