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3 reasons to add a living will to your estate plan

An estate plan is not the same thing as a last will. A will is a specific document that talks about what happens to your property after you die. An estate plan includes other information.

It might include instructions for your funeral and paperwork for your prepaid burial plot. It could also include a living will. Too many people overlook living wills when creating their estate plans. There are several compelling reasons to add a living will to your estate plan.

Accidents can happen anytime

You could be in perfect health and live a very responsible lifestyle, only to get hit by a drunk driver while jogging before work one morning. A car crash, an accident at home or even a work incident could all leave you incapacitated.

You have no way of knowing when something might happen to you that leaves you unable to speak for yourself. Creating a living will ahead of time ensures that you have protection no matter what happens.

Your loved ones may not know what to do

Maybe you have talked about your medical wishes in the past, but your spouse or children may not remember those wishes in the aftermath of some tragic situation. A living will can include advance directives that talk about your medical wishes. Such documents leave nothing to chance by creating a written record of your medical preferences for people to follow.

Financial hardship often follows medical calamity

A coma, a stroke or a two-month stay in the hospital is bad enough on its own. These experiences become infinitely more devastating if you have fallen behind on your bills and face foreclosure and other consequences.

You can include powers of attorney in your living will that give someone you trust the power to make medical decisions for you or to handle financial transactions on your behalf. With a carefully-drafted power of attorney, you know that someone will pay your mortgage.

Thinking about yourself and the people you love may provide you with all the reasons you need to expand what documents you created for your estate plan.