Catholic Living Will
A living will is not a will, but rather a document that instructs healthcare professionals on how you would like to be treated when specific healthcare decisions must be made. The Kansas Catholic Conference of Bishops (KCCB) has provided a free Catholic Healthcare Directive to take some of the guesswork out of this planning for Kansas residents.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
An even more important decision may be deciding who will make healthcare decisions for you in the case that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. Naming someone as Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney to act on your behalf that shares your Catholic values is another important aspect of completing your will and estate plan. This document only pertains to decisions on healthcare, and not for financial or business decisions.
Naming a legal guardian to take care of minor children in the event that both parents are no longer living can be a difficult decision to make, but it is critical to your responsibility to caring for minor children and those with special needs. If you do not make this decision in a properly drafted estate plan the court will make the decision for you. Will the currently named guardian raise your children in the Catholic faith? Carefully pray about whom you would want to fill this role in the event of your death, and periodically review legal guardians as people age, move away, or life events change who you would designate as guardian of your children.
Another way to add Catholic values to your estate plan is to add charitable giving to your plan. Many estate plans include gifts to one or multiple charities. Some people choose to do this as a dollar amount, percentage of the estate, or a specific asset like a house or car. This can be a great way to express gratitude for God sustaining us during life, and it is a great way to teach charitable giving to our heirs.