Most people think of estate planning as a way to make decisions that will be carried out after their death. This includes the protection, management, and distribution of personal and business assets.
But incapacitation is a risk that must be considered when planning for the future. Incapacitation resulting from cognitive decline, disease, or injury prevents you from making these important decisions while you’re still living.
This impacts the financial wellbeing of you and your family as well as the medical care you receive. The following helps you understand how estate planning can be used to account for incapacitation so that you create a secure plan for your future.
Incapacitation and Estate Planning
Failing to plan for issues related to incapacitation can lead to costly and disruptive mistakes for you and your family.
An estate plan outlines the decisions that will be made in the future as well as the individuals who have the legal authority to carry out your wishes.
This reduces the burden that’s placed on family members and ensures that you receive the care you want and need over time. It offers peace of mind to loved ones while protecting your medical, financial, and personal wellbeing.
Incapacitation commonly results from catastrophic injuries and diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and others.
Without the right estate plan, your family may need to seek a court-appointed guardian to determine how future decisions will be made. These additional legal costs add to their emotional upset and may reduce the value of your estate.
More importantly, you’re at risk of having your decisions made by a court judge, which requires family members to provide documentation related to any actions that are taken.
Planning for Long-Term Medical Care
Long-term and end-of-life care are important considerations to make when planning for your future. Your estate planning attorney helps you develop the right plan that accounts for the medical care you may need.
This includes decisions related to life support, feeding, and other life-sustaining interventions. You outline the terms related to organ donation and burial preferences to be carried out after you’ve passed.
Without an estate plan, the burden of making these decisions falls on family members. In addition to the emotional upset it causes, your loved ones may disagree on the actions that should be taken, causing conflict and confusion.
Creating the Estate Plan That Protects You From Incapacitation Risks
Consulting with a skilled estate planning attorney who understands the risks that result from incapacitation is the first step to protecting you and your family.
Your attorney can explain the legal strategies you can use including powers of attorney as well as living wills and trusts. The right combination of estate planning tools gives you the security you need.
A power of attorney gives individuals the legal authority to make decisions for you. This is essential in cases involving incapacitation and other estate planning concerns.
Through a durable power of attorney, another individual can help you manage your assets and financial decisions. You establish restrictions on their authority as needed to give you control over how these decisions are carried out.
Likewise, a medical power of attorney relates to any future medical decisions that need to be made when you’re unable to do so.
A living will lets you outline your preferences under certain conditions such as incapacitation. A living trust makes it possible to transfer assets so that they’re protected and managed by you or another person.
A comprehensive estate plan considers all possibilities related to your later years. In addition to death, incapacitation is a risk that affects you and your family’s wellbeing.
With an estate plan that accounts for incapacitation, you secure your quality of life and create a reliable plan for your long-term care. This gives you the protection you need as you enter your later years.