Taking care of the people you love is one of the main reasons you likely have for creating a last will or estate plan. You want to know that your spouse and your children or other dependents will have guidance about how to handle your estate. Additionally, if you have minor children or an adult child with special needs that you still provide care for, naming a guardian and providing resources for that guardian can also be important for the people who depend on you.

Planning for these clear necessities after your death will benefit your family, but have you considered planning for other circumstances that could impact your family when you aren’t available to them? If your estate plan doesn’t include medical guidance and possibly a durable power of attorney for a situation involving your incapacitation, you could leave your family members in a difficult position if you experience an accent or sudden medical event.

Without a power of attorney, your finances could wind up in limbo

There are multiple different kinds of power of attorney documents that you can create, and many people overlook the value of a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney will continue to have legal authority even in the event that the courts declare you incapacitated or name a guardian for you.

If you don’t have a power of attorney that authorizes someone to access accounts and manage your personal matters, your family members could wind up locked out of accounts until they manage to go through the courts for access. That delay could result in penalties or even the initiation of foreclosure or tax sale proceedings.

Your loved ones need guidance about your medical wishes as well

One of the hardest things to do when a loved one is experiencing a medical event is to make a decision on their behalf. People generally want to take steps that support the beliefs and preferences of their loved ones, but it can be hard to determine what someone would want without direct guidance.

Just having a conversation doesn’t mean that people will remember your preferences in a moment of extreme stress. Committing your medical wishes, regarding everything from organ donation to life support, to writing as part of your estate plan can guide the people who love you and reduce their worry about making a decision that isn’t in line with your values or wishes.

The more thorough your estate plan is, the better your loved ones will be able to adjust to whatever strange situation life throws at you or them.