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Estate planning: How prepared are you for incapacitation?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2023 | Trusts And Estate Planning

While many individuals have the necessary plans to distribute their assets to loved ones after death, few have things covered in the event of incapacitation. It is equally important to be prepared for such unforeseen possibilities.

Incapacitation refers to the inability to make decisions or manage one’s affairs due to physical or mental limitations. It can arise from various circumstances, such as illness, injury or cognitive decline. 

Addressing this aspect of estate planning is essential to ensure your wishes are honored, and your affairs are handled appropriately during incapacitation. Below are some useful tips.

Establish a durable power of attorney.

You need someone to manage your affairs when you cannot act or make decisions independently. This is where a power of attorney (POA) comes in – a legal document that allows you to give legal authority to another person to act on your behalf.

The person you designate will oversee your financial, legal and medical matters, depending on the powers you give them. By appointing a trusted POA, you can ensure that the decisions they will make align with your preferences and best interests when you are incapacitated.

Create a living will.

A living will or advance healthcare directive is a legal document outlining your medical treatment preferences and end-of-life decisions, such as life-sustaining measures or organ donation. When you express your desires in advance through a living will, you relieve loved ones of the burden of making difficult decisions during emotionally challenging times and ensure your wishes are respected.

Do not wait until it is too late.

Incapacitation planning is not just for older people or those with terminal conditions. Life’s unpredictability alone should be reason enough to put the necessary plans in place. You never know what the future holds.

Seek legal guidance to learn more about your options and what it takes to prepare for unexpected life events.