Many people forget that an estate plan can help you when you’re alive, not just help your family after you’re already dead.
Putting the necessary measures in place now prepares for bouts of ill health later. Here’s what you can do:
A healthcare power of attorney is essential
This is someone you nominate to speak to doctors on your behalf. They will only do this if you reach a state where you cannot do it yourself. An example could be if you are comatose after a serious car crash.
A living will can sometimes speak for you
You can put your preferences in a document called a living will. For example, stating that you would not like to be fed by tube but would be happy to receive intravenous morphine. You could even go as far as to name the physician you’d prefer to treat you.
You can set aside funds
Maybe you use your estate plan to set aside a fund to pay for residential healthcare. Or perhaps you look for ways to prevent Medicaid from taking all your assets to fund medical treatment you may incur in later life.
By the time you fall ill, it will be too late
Medicaid operates a lookback period which means they may be able to claim back assets you gave away in the several years prior to needing their care. Planning well ahead may be your only chance to preserve those assets for your family.
You also can’t tell doctors about your wishes if you are already injured to the point where you can’t speak. You can only do it when you are well. Getting your healthcare planning right can be challenging, so consider legal guidance.