At the start of a New Year we’re in planning mode. We’re looking at the year ahead like it’s a fresh beginning. We have every intention of tackling important to-dos and reaching personal goals.
But it’s easy to let your good intentions go to the backburner as the year goes on. And those to-dos that don’t seem that enjoyable tend to get pushed there first. That’s why only 40% of American adults have a will.
What Should You Do to Plan Ahead and When Should You Do It
So, what exactly should you plan for ahead of time? There are a number of actions you can take and documents that you can create to outline your wishes. Here are some of the most important documents to have on file.
Last Will and Testament
If you have assets of any sort, it’s time to look into creating a last will and testament. A will, also known as a testament, is a legally binding document that states what should happen to your property and other assets in the event of your death.
If you don’t have a will then how your assets are distributed will be determined by state law. In most states a surviving spouse will receive all assets. If the person was not married then the first of kin, typically a child or children, will get the assets.
There is also something called a living will. However, a living will is solely related to your end-of-life medical choices and which treatments you’d like to receive.
Guardianship Nomination Forms
As soon as you have a child, or even before they are born, you should complete a temporary guardianship nomination form and a permanent guardianship nomination form. These forms expressly state who should act as the guardian of your child/children if you or their other parent is unable to care for them.
As the name suggests, a temporary guardianship nomination form makes someone the guardian for a short period of time. The permanent guardianship nomination form is used to name a guardian in the event you become incapacitated or pass away.
Assign Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is sometimes confused with a will, but they are two separate legal documents with two separate purposes. While a will pertains to what happens after your death, a power of attorney involves naming sometime to make decisions for you in the event you can’t do it yourself. For example, if you get in a car accident and are unconscious from the injuries the person with power of attorney would need to make financial decisions while you recover.
In the power of attorney document you will name who is in charge of making financial, business and personal/family decisions. Essentially, this person will be able to legally act on your behalf. It’s something everyone should do as soon as they become a legal adult and their parents are no longer automatically the decision makers.
Name a Healthcare Proxy
A healthcare proxy is similar to a power of attorney, but it’s specifically for medical decisions. The healthcare proxy document will name a person who has the power to make medical decisions for you if you can’t. Like power of attorney, you should use a healthcare proxy as soon as you become a legal adult.
Many people believe that a healthcare proxy is the same as a living will, but there’s one key distinction. With a healthcare proxy you don’t have to make medical decisions in advance that the proxy then carries out for you. Instead, the proxy will make decisions based on the current medical situation and what they believe you would want.
Advanced Funeral Service Arrangements
This can really be done at any time. And you don’t have to pre-pay for services. Simply doing some research and noting your wishes in writing is often enough to ensure the funeral services are carried out the way you want. It also relieves your loved ones from bearing the burden of making those important decisions during an emotional period.
Arranging funeral services in advance doesn’t have to be overly involved or complicated. It can be as simple as stating your preference for a burial or cremation. And if you prefer cremation do you want green cremation services? And what do you want to happen with the cremated remains?
These are critical decisions that are just as emotional as they are financial. For that reason alone, it’s a good idea to make end of life arrangements in advance when you can think things through without emotions getting in the way.
If you have questions about arranging cremation services in advance please give us a call, text or email anytime. The team at Green Cremation Texas is here for you and your family when you need us.