Make health care decisions while you’re healthy
Abstract: Estate planning isn’t just about what happens to assets after death. It’s also about protecting oneself and one’s loved ones, which includes having a plan for someone to make critical medical decisions in the event of one’s own incapacity. There are generally two ways of putting decisions in writing: 1) a living will and 2) a health care power of attorney (HCPA). This article describes the characteristics of each and explains why it’s a good idea to have both — or, if allowed by state law, a single document that combines the two. A sidebar discusses the importance of having a financial management plan in place and lists three traditional techniques for doing so.