When you get around to drafting an estate plan, your life may look one way. Years later, however, things may change, and your life may have gone in an entirely different route.
Updating your estate plan is something particular life events dictate. For example, getting married or having a baby should trigger a total revamp of the plan. Your estate plan should also contain power of attorney documents for your finances, health and perhaps temporary situations. Knowing when to update these is essential to assure you still maintain a say in what happens.
Health care power of attorney
Your attorney suggested you draft a health care directive along with a living will. These standard documents convey your wishes on how you want specific medical events handled:
- End of life care
- Surgical intervention
- Life support management
In these documents, you appoint a person – a grantee – to make decisions based on how you want things handled. When you first drafted this document, your spouse was the obvious choice. However, you have since divorced, and your now-ex is the last person you want deciding how you live or die. Hence, a change in the health care directive is a good idea.
Financial power of attorney
Alongside the healthcare directive is a financial one. This document allows a person to have access to all your accounts, property and debt if you become disabled due to illness or long-term incapacitation. You have also conveyed your thoughts on how you want your care financially handled. Revising the grantee with this critical document should follow the healthcare directive. As you age, you may want to change the person in charge from a spouse or sibling to an adult child. If you start to feel uncomfortable with the person chosen, it is perfectly acceptable to change the document at any point.
Talk with your attorney about your particular circumstances and what you should do to keep your estate plan, including your power of attorney documents, current.