Estate planning isn’t just about planning for death. Most people think estate planning is simply putting a will or trust in place to make sure that your assets are properly distributed after you die. Many don’t realize that planning for incapacity is equally as important.
Planning for incapacity addresses what happens if you are unable to make medical decisions or handle your financial affairs because of an injury or medical condition. If an incident takes place and leaves you unable to speak, write, etc. it becomes difficult to let your loved ones and doctors know your wishes.
If you want to have a well rounded Estate Plan, you need more than just a will or a trust.
Advance Directive for Healthcare
- life support
- organ donation
- body donation
- final disposition of your body
- end of life medical treatment
- an appointed guardian should you need one
Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, a power of attorney will designate who should help with your finances. A Power of Attorney gives you control over what your agent has permission to manage. This person can help you pay and bills, do taxes, and to manage your overall financial affairs (stocks, bank accounts, etc.).
When planning for incapacity, you should also give written authorization designating who your personal health information can be disclosed to. Without this form, doctors may not be able to legally communicate with your family.
Speak to an Attorney
It’s easy to overlook small details when planning for the possibility of incapacity. It’s best to consult with an estate planning attorney when creating these documents.
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