Incapacity planning may allow you to enjoy your life, secure in the knowledge that if your health takes a turn for the worse, your wishes and expectations will still be carried out as you’d want them to be. When you neglect incapacity planning, you leave your future support and end-of-life care decisions to chance. This isn’t an outcome anyone wants to see.
The incapacity planning attorneys at Loew Law Group make creating an incapacity plan easy. You can rest assured that if something goes wrong, your wishes will be carried out the way you’d want them to be.
What is incapacity?
Incapacity refers to the inability to make decisions about your own care and support, including the ability to manage your own assets and to make or communicate your decisions and preferences.
Incapacity can be mental or physical. A severe stroke, an accident resulting in a coma, or a debilitating disease or condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia can all lead to being considered legally incapable.
Often, people don’t begin thinking about incapacity until later in life. This is a mistake, because it may be too late if you lose capacity before you put a plan in place. Incapacity can happen to anyone at any age. While incapacity planning is a common consideration for seniors, everyone should take note of the repercussions of incapacity.
The inability to create a will, make health decisions, or choose how children are raised are questions all individuals should responsibly attend to. Tragic accidents happen every day. When you’re not prepared for the worst, you may lose all control over the outcome for both yourself and your loved ones.
What is incapacity planning?
Incapacity planning is legal preparation for potential health conditions that could render you incapable of managing your own affairs. Incapacity planning is an essential part of having a well-organized estate and maintaining control over your future.
Incapacity planning is primarily concerned with responsibly planning out finances and health decisions. It’s also an essential preparation to make when you have minor children. Arrangements for children are typically made through a will, which is one aspect of an incapacity plan.
What should an incapacity plan include?
An incapacity plan is a collection of important legal documents and decisions that dictate how your affairs will be managed in the event of incapacity. These include decisions about finances and preferences regarding your medical care.
Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
The durable power of attorney form bestows decision-making authority upon a designated individual. The person manages your affairs on your behalf and makes decisions in most categories, with the exception of medical decisions.
The person designated will take responsibility for finances when you become unable to do so yourself. They will ensure bills are paid and other assets are managed according to your wishes.
Advance Health Care Directive or Medical Power of Attorney
Executing an Advance Health Care Directive, also called a medical power of attorney, enables you to authorize a person to make medical choices on your behalf. If you specify your medical wishes, the designated individual is responsible for making sure your directives are followed.
Even when your preferences have not been specified, this person may make decisions on your behalf. It’s recommended that you select a person you can trust to make decisions in alignment with your desires and any religious or personal beliefs.
Your Advance Health Care Directive will also specify your decisions about end-of-life care. The preference for either a DNR order or life support is outlined here.
A HIPAA release is a small but important part of incapacity planning. This document is where you specify which of your family members or other agents may access your medical records. Generally, you will grant access to the agent or agents named under your Advance Health Care Directive.
Last Will and Testament
A will and testament ensures that your assets are distributed as you wish upon your death. This may include transferring those assets into your revocable living trust. A will can also address other important concerns, like guardianship for minor children or even for your pets.
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust allows your assets to be managed and utilized while you are still living, even if you become incapable of managing those assets yourself. Most people may benefit from establishing a revocable living trust with a named successor trustee that they can rely on if something happens to them. This successor trustee may help ensure that your financial concerns are provided for, including support for your medical care and for your children.
Contact a San Mateo Incapacity Planning Attorney Today
Incapacity planning is the process of collecting and completing the legal documents that will help your family follow your wishes if you become incapacitated.
When you make your wishes clear and do the legal preparation, you may relieve your family of additional stress, uncertainty, and dissension as they adapt to changes in your health.
With proper planning, you may help ensure that your wishes are met and that your family may be spared unnecessary burdens.
The San Mateo incapacity planning attorneys at Loew Law Group will help you navigate the documents and decisions of end-of-life arrangements. Loew Law Group assists clients in San Mateo County and in all Bay Area counties, as well as clients throughout California. Contact Loew Law Group today to begin the process of incapacity planning.