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Estate planning is more than just creating a will

When it comes to end-of-life care, the Colorado resident has several options. The option chosen can be expressly stated as a part of one's estate planning documents. Or, one can simply hope that the ability to make personal decisions continues until the end of one's life.

The simple fact is that one can become ill or injured without warning. In many cases, the situation is not dire and one recovers quickly. However, in other cases, the individual's prognosis is not promising, decisions must be made, and financial affairs need to be taken care of. By planning for this possibility, the individual can make sure that his or her wishes are known.

A living will allows the individual to express his or her medical wishes. Some individuals want every measure possible taken to extend life; however, others would prefer that life-saving measures be withheld if there is no hope for recovery. If the individual is ill or injured, unable to express desires or make legal decisions and there is no hope for recovery, a living will allows the individual to still direct the extent of medical care received.

In addition to health care decisions, financial decisions must also be made. If one has established a durable power of attorney, this individual has the authority to take care of financial matters. Bills can be paid and financial transactions completed.

The average Colorado resident recognizes the need for estate planning and thus creates a will and identifies beneficiaries. However, without the proper documentation in place, it is possible that medical and financial decisions can be left up to the courts if one becomes ill or injured and unable to make such decisions. A living will and durable power of attorney are important pieces of one's estate plan.

Source: marketwatch.com, "This is the most important person to remember in your estate plan", Brad Wiewel, Nov. 17, 2017

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