What is a Disability Plan?
Planning for future incapacity – or disability planning – means taking the necessary actions now to ensure that, if you should experience a disability or become mentally incapacitated, people who you trust will have the authority to make decisions on various items that will impact or influence the quality of your life.
What estate planning documents are specifically used to plan for incapacity?
Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive, Provisions in a Revocable Trust
Why is disability planning important?
As competent adults, we are accustomed to making our own decisions – and living with the consequences! Most of us value independence and the freedom to make choices as we wish.
If a person becomes incapacitated due to an accident, illness, or aging, the law says that they can no longer make, or be responsible for, decisions on their behalf. Of course, the routine decisions of everyday life still must be made. And, depending on the circumstances, the incapacity may require a whole new set of choices.
If the incapacitated person cannot make those decisions, then who will? In an extreme situation, the courts will become involved to name a Guardian and/or Conservator to make and be responsible for decisions that impact the incapacitated adult. It is possible that someone other than, who you would want to serve in these roles could be appointed.
Disability planning keeps you in control. Through planning for incapacity, you identify and name the people you would want to step in and be responsible for making decisions on your behalf.
With effective disability planning, you would execute a Power of Attorney authorizing another person to make decisions about such personal business matters as banking and investment accounts, insurance issues, and real estate transactions – to name just a few.
Additionally, you would execute a Health Care Directive to give another person the authority to make healthcare decisions for you and to make your wishes known if you are unable to communicate.
The point is that with a valid Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive, there are people, designated by you, in place to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Because these people are in place, the need for the court to appoint a Guardian or Conservator is greatly reduced. Additionally, if it should still be necessary that a Guardian be appointed, you may nominate the person you wish to act as your Guardian in your Health Care Directive.
There is an important part of estate planning that is about your quality of life – this is known as incapacity planning, or planning for a disability.
If you are ready to hire an estate planning attorney, contact Amy Kuronen.