Okay. So you’ve heard it before. We all need to get our houses in order. It may be an old saw, but it’s true. It’s a good idea to do these 3 things before retirement. And that includes those of us who are a bit a away from retirement age, and those of us who are putting retirement off to earn more money.
- You need a WILL.
Your will should clearly spell out how you would like to leave your assets to your heirs or others. Planning saves heartache and headaches for you, and eliminates any questions people may have later.
- You need a HEALTH CARE PROXY
A health care proxy is extremely important. This document legally designates someone to help with doctors and hospitals if you get sick. Experts advise it, and I know it it’s true because of my personal experiences caring for my mother and elderly relatives. If you don’t have a health care proxy, the current laws prevent medical professionals from discussing your case with anyone but you. And that’s okay to a point. But it’s imperative to have an advocate when you deal with doctors especially in an emergency setting. So a health care proxy designates the person you want to help you get the best care possible.
- You need a LIVING WILL
This makes your wishes crystal clear about how you want medical personnel to treat you in extreme situations. You can choose to say that you want to be resuscitated and kept on life support, or say that you do not want extreme measures used to keep you alive. This is all up to you, and your wishes should be recorded in a legal document.
- You need a POWER OF ATTORNEY
This designates someone to handle your personal and business affairs while you’re alive, if you cannot do things yourself. Even if you can do things, it’s always a good idea to have a trusted person assist. It’s smart to get a qualified estate lawyer to help make these plans and put them on paper. If you can’t afford a lawyer, some states and local bar associations offer online forms. But be careful. The American Bar Association www.aba.org offers a state-by-state list of clinics and not-for-profits that offer affordable and even free legal help.
ConsumerMojo’s video Key Steps to Plan Retirement has a lot more.
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