Comprehensive estate planning should include having a plan in place to manage your affairs if you become mentally incapacitated during your life.
What Happens Without an Incapacity Plan?
Without a comprehensive incapacity plan in place, a judge can appoint a conservator to take control of your assets and health care decisions. This conservator will make all personal and medical decisions on your behalf as part of a court-supervised conservatorship. Until you regain capacity or die, you and your loved ones will be faced with an expensive and time-consuming conservatorship proceeding.
Protecting Yourself If You Get Sick
Have you protected your family and assets, with a will and trust? What if you get sick? Do you have powers of attorney in place? Has it been years since you've updated your old trust?
If you are legally incapacitated, you are legally unable to make financial, investment, or tax decisions for yourself. Bills still need to be paid, tax returns still need to be filed, and investments still need to be managed.
What you'll need in place BEFORE you become incapacitated
Financial Power of Attorney
This legal document gives your agent the authority to pay bills, make financial decisions, manage investments, file tax returns, mortgage and sell real estate, and handle other financial matters that are described in the document.
Revocable Living Trust
This legal document has three parties: The person who creates the trust (you might see this written as “Trustor” or “Grantor” or “Settlor” – they all mean the same thing); the person who manages the assets transferred into the trust (the “Trustee”); and the person who benefits from the assets transferred into the trust (the “Beneficiary”).
Medical Power of Attorney
This legal document, also called an Advance Directive or Medical or Health Care Proxy, gives your agent the authority to make health care decisions if you become incapacitated.
This legal document gives your agent the authority to make life sustaining or life ending decisions if you become incapacitated.
Federal and state laws dictate who can receive medical information without the written consent of the patient. This legal document gives your doctor authority to disclose medical information to an agent selected by you.