Unexpected health issues may become more common as you grow older. You can’t predict when these issues may strike or exactly what challenges you will face, but we do know that aging takes a toll and that some issues — cancer, strokes, etc — are more common in the elderly.

Just because you can’t predict what will happen does not mean you can’t plan for it. There are steps you can take. Estate planning, which many people assume focuses on finances, actually gives you a lot of tools to plan for the future.

One option is a medical power of attorney. If the issues you face rob you of your ability to communicate with doctors, it means you need someone else to make serious decisions for you. The medical power of attorney just gives that legal right to someone else. They are your agent in this difficult time. Choosing someone to act on your behalf helps you, it helps the medical team and it helps the rest of your family, as they no longer have to debate over who gets to make these decisions.

Another option is an advance directive. Regardless of the specific issues that you face, you may already have made some medical decisions. One of the most common examples is not wanting to be kept alive on life support. The advance directive tells doctors what your decisions are when you cannot do so in person.

As you can see, estate planning is about far more than money, and there are a lot of tools at your disposal. Be sure you know what options you have and how to use them effectively.