Trying to cover all of your bases for when the latter portion of your life rolls around means you have to consider factors beyond simply arranging for the transfer of assets after you pass away. Reaching an advanced age is certainly a milestone, but other detrimental possibilities loom with age, and it is important to be prepared for them.
A lot of people don't realize just how long lifespans are these days. Americans are living longer than ever, with people 85 years and older making the fastest-growing segment of the population. Clearly, when you reach your mid-80s and beyond the possibility that you won't be able to make all of your own medical decisions becomes a real one indeed.
For this reason it is important to select a trusted representative to act on your behalf through the execution of a durable power of attorney for health care along with a living will. With a living will you state your wishes with regard to the use of medical procedures to keep you alive should you become unable to communicate your preferences in real time. The issue of having your life preserved via the use of artificial means when there's no hope of recovery is typically at the core of these documents.
When you look at the facts it is rather startling to see how few Americans have executed these documents. An interactive Harris survey from 2009 found that only 29% of the adults that they polled had a living will in place. Though we emphasize how important these documents are for seniors, they are are also important for younger adults. If you're looking for proof simply recall the highly publicized case of Terri Schiavo, and the protracted legal battle between her husband, who was also her legal guardian, and her parents.
If you are unprepared you could be leaving your family in a very uncomfortable position should life-and-death decisions fall into their laps. You may want to take action and arrange for a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney sooner rather than later to execute these important documents.