Estate planning includes a variety of important components such as the distribution of property and assets but also serves as a resource that allows the estate planner to plan for incapacity. Because planning for incapacity is an important part of a comprehensive estate plan, estate planners should be familiar with how to do that and what estate planning resources can help them accomplish a plan for if they become incapacitated at some point.
What are some of the estate planning documents and tools that can help plan for incapacity?
- Durable power of attorney for financial affairs: A durable power of attorney for financial affairs can be an important estate planning tool used to designate a trusted individual to conduct the financial affairs of the estate planner if they become incapacitated at some point and are unable to do so for themselves.
- Durable power of attorney for medical care: A durable power of attorney for medical care is an important estate planning tool used to designate a trusted individual to direct the medical care and treatment of the estate planner if they are unable to do so for themselves due to incapacity.
- Advance healthcare directive: An advance healthcare directive, also sometimes referred to as a living will, can specify the types of medical care and treatment the estate planner wishes to receive, or does not want to receive, in circumstances of incapacity when they may not be able to directly speak for themselves. One of the most important considerations that can be addressed in an advance healthcare directive includes the estate planner’s wishes concerning resuscitation and other end-of-life medical care they may, or may not, wish to receive.
A trusted individual named in a durable power of attorney for healthcare may be able to direct medical care not covered by a healthcare declaration; enforce the healthcare wishes of the estate planner if needed; engage and terminate medical care professionals providing treatment; access the estate planner’s medical records; and have access to visit the estate planner.
A plan for incapacity is an important thing to have and should not be overlooked. Estate planning tools can help estate planners develop a plan that is best for them that is aligned with their wishes and meets their needs.