As medical science continues to improve, Americans are increasingly living longer than ever before. The downside to longer life spans, however, is that many more Americans will face living out their final years with diminished mental capacity. According to a recent article in Forbes, “One in eight baby boomers will get Alzheimer’s after they turn 65.”
Now, more than ever, it is important for people to anticipate and plan for a time in their lives when they will be incapable of making their own medical and financial decisions. Moreover, people need to make such decisions before becoming incapacitated. Once a person’s mental capacity begins to diminish, any documents executed become vulnerable to challenges in court. Moreover, you may suffer an unexpected accident or other medical condition that leaves you incapacitated early in life.
Based on the unknown nature of life, the article advises, “It is much better to address this subject while you are healthy and hearty.” The three documents it urges that everyone address are:
1) Health Care Proxy: Allows you to designate who will make medical decisions for you, should you become incapacitated
2) Advance Directive: Allows you to specify your wishes for end-of-life care
3) Durable Power of Attorney: Allows you to designate who will handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated