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Make your wishes known

Would your loved ones know what your wishes are if you became unable to communicate them? Who would you want to make those decisions for you? Talking about end-of-life issues is never easy but making those choices now and putting them in writing will save those close to you much anxiety during an already difficult time.

In addition to a financial power of attorney and a will, every adult should have an advance directive, which includes a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. Both documents inform healthcare providers and family of your wishes regarding which treatments you want and which you want to refuse. But a living will takes effect only if you meet specific medical requirements.

“The trouble with a living will is that it only deals with terminal illness,” says Jan May, executive director of AARP’s legal counsel for the elderly.  “I think a better course of action is to have a healthcare power of attorney that encompasses the issues that would be in a living will.”

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