Most people are aware of the need for estate planning and the benefits of making your wishes and intentions for your estate clear after you pass away.
Many may fail to consider the need for someone to help make decisions in your later stages of life. If you lose the ability to communicate your wishes effectively, you may want someone who can speak for you.
What is incapacity?
An incapacitated person is one who is mentally or physically incapable of managing their affairs. Incapacity may occur due to illness or injury at any age. It may also occur through the simple process of aging.
How can incapacity planning help?
Many adults develop a need or desire for help with financial responsibilities as they age. Perhaps you want your children to help keep track of your bills because you keep forgetting. In that case, you may want to name one of your children as your power of attorney to give them the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf.
If you have concerns about your assets in the event of your incapacitation, establishing a trust can protect your assets while you are still living and determine what happens to your estate after you pass. Both revocable and irrevocable trusts are options.
A living will and a medical power of attorney, also known as a health care surrogate, can help with medical decisions. A living will clarifies your choices about medical treatment, while a health care surrogate can make any medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.