Nobody likes to think about dying, and estate planning is a morbid subject. But two critical legal documents can actually help you while you're still alive by making it easier for loved ones to take care of your affairs if you're temporarily unable to make decisions on your own behalf.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at these legal documents. Dan first runs through the medical durable power of attorney, which gives a designated person the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf. Dan notes that when you combine this with a health care directive, you can ensure that your wishes about extraordinary efforts to sustain your life will be honored. Dan also goes over the financial durable power of attorney, which lets you give someone the ability to pay bills, handle investments, and make other financial decisions on your behalf. Dan concludes that because these documents let you precisely define the scope of the power you want to give, you can make sure your affairs will be kept in order without becoming vulnerable to unwanted interference.

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Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.