The purpose of your estate plan is to prepare for the expected (i.e., your passing). However, it has another use – planning for the unexpected. One unexpected situation some people face in life is becoming incapacitated.
Incapacity planning may be something you believe you don’t have to worry about until you are older. However, you can experience an injury or illness at any point in your life that may leave you unable to make decisions. If you haven’t planned for this, it may mean your assets and well-being are managed by a stranger.
Including incapacity planning as part of your estate plan will give you peace of mind that your wishes will be followed in the event you cannot make decisions for yourself.
Incapacity planning documents
Incapacity planning typically involves the use of several documents. Some of the most common include:
- Living will: This specifies the type of medical care you want if you become terminally ill and cannot communicate what type of end-of-life treatment you desire
- Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (healthcare proxy): This lets you assign someone to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to
- Durable Power of Attorney: This lets you select someone to make financial decisions if you become incapacitated
Don’t wait to plan for the unexpected
No one plans to become incapacitated. However, a car accident, slip and fall, serious illness, or something else may cause this situation. Because it can happen at any point, it’s recommended that you plan for it in your estate plan. Doing so will help prevent issues for you and your loved ones in the future.