There is the potential for any of us to become incapacitated at some point and unable to manage our own medical care or financial affairs for ourselves. For that reason, an important part of an estate plan is a plan for incapacity if that day comes.
How to plan for incapacity
There are several key documents that can be included in an estate plan that will form a plan for incapacity including:
- A living will – a living will or advance healthcare directive states the types of health care and medical treatment the estate planner wants if they lose capacity. It can also include the types of health care and medical treatment the estate planner does not want if they lose capacity.
- Durable power of attorney for financial affairs – a durable power of attorney for financial affairs gives someone the estate planner designates in the document legal authority to manage the estate planner’s financial affairs if they lose capacity and are unable to manage them for themselves. This document, like a power of attorney for healthcare, can designate that it goes into effect only if the estate planner loses capacity.
- Do Not Resuscitate Order and HIPAA release – a do not resuscitate order can be included in a living will or as a separate document and states under what circumstances the estate planner wants resuscitative measures. A HIPAA release form is important because it will authorize the medical professionals treating the estate planner to share their medical records and detailed information with family and friends interested in their care.
- Revocable living trust – A revocable living trust can allow for the estate planner’s property to pass to those inheriting it without the need for it to go through the probate process. It can also be used as an estate planning tool if the estate planner loses incapacity.
Planning for incapacity can help ease the mind and worries of the estate planner which is one of the important components of the estate planning process. Because of this, estate planner should know what to include in their incapacity plan.