Once upon a time, my wife had to make a very difficult decision. Her father was in the hospital for what looked to be the last time. She drove to New Jersey, where he lived, from Pittsburgh, where we lived at the time to see him.
When she got there, she and her sisters had to make a decision. Should they prolong their father’s life with treatment options that would likely only keep him from passing away, or should they discontinue treatment knowing he would not survive?
They chose to let him go.
My wife suffered a lot of sleepless nights afterwards, grieving, but also agonizing over whether she had made the right decision. Her father had not prepared any estate planning documents and so he left no direction for the care he wanted to receive at the end of his life. It was then up to his daughters to make the choice for him.
In this case, although I can’t speak for everyone else, I think there is agreement that the right choice was made. Still, my wife did not know for sure what her father wanted and would have benefited from written instructions on what to do.
When you draft your estate planning documents, you’re doing it not only for yourself but also for your loved ones who will need to rely on them.
You have the power to choose who can help if you can’t manage your finances or make health care decisions for yourself anymore. You can choose who will serve as your executor and wrap your affairs up and also who will benefit from your estate by drafting a will.
I’ve seen firsthand the uncertainty and stress a failure to draft these vital documents can cause. Take advantage of the opportunity to draft a will and powers of attorney so that your family understands your wishes when the time comes.