Friday, March 21, 2014

Raising Awareness…Be Prepared for Life’s What- ifs

Lynn A. Dean
Estate Planning Attorney
The National Safety Council has declared March as Workplace eye wellness month. With many hours at the computer, laptop, electronic readers and tablets, it is not surprising to learn that 70 percent of American adults experience some form of digital eyestrain.  Source:

Having a month devoted to raising awareness about the importance of vision health and ways to minimize damage is commendable.  As human beings, we tend to take for granted our health until something goes wrong.  Preventative measures ensure we are at least doing the best we can with enough information to make informative choices.  But what if?

Estate planning raises awareness and is preventative too.  Rather than leave it to chance, an estate plan provides for the “what ifs.”  If something were to happen to both parents of young children, for instance, who is the designated guardian?  If there are no health care directives, how do the survivors know if the decedents wanted to donate organs, be buried or be cremated?  In this scenario, the confusion, expense and unexpected outcomes is often a result of having had no estate plan at all leaving major decisions up to the legal system.
People tend to procrastinate about designating someone for financial or health care powers of attorney. Or they are so fearful about giving up control that they don’t name anyone. But if you suffer a stroke, lose your eyesight or become ill and go into a facility, there may be no one who has power to pay your medical bills or handle your care. It’s important to create powers of attorney documents while you’re competent. Keep in mind: If you change your mind about who you designated, you can always redo the documents. 

To learn more about estate planning and powers of attorney, click here 

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