The recent coronavirus pandemic made a lot of people think about their healthcare and estate planning wishes. Websites and attorneys saw huge upticks in the number of people creating estate planning documents. 1 And while having a will is key, there are several other important documents—including those of the financial variety—that retirees should consider to make sure their wishes are known in case something happens to them.
“With COVID, everyone has had this ‘what if’ sense in their minds,” says Colleen Carcone, Director of Wealth Planning Strategies at TIAA. “When you want to prepare for the unexpected, you need to think of two components: First, you want to make sure that if something happens to you and healthcare decisions need to be made that your loved ones know what your wishes are. And second, if someone needs to take over your finances, they need to be able to know what to do and how to do it.”
From the healthcare side, the main documents you’ll want to consider are:
- A healthcare directive or living will, which provides general healthcare instructions to your doctor or other physician if you can no longer make decisions on your own.
- A medical power of attorney (POA) or healthcare proxy, who can discuss your treatment with medical providers and make healthcare decisions on your behalf that align with your wishes if you can’t make them yourself.