The distribution of assets and the designation of beneficiaries is what first comes to mind when you think of estate planning. While these are undeniably vital aspects of the process, one critical element that is sometimes overlooked is incapacitation planning. In other words, planning for the possibility of mental or physical incapacity.
Who will step on your behalf when you cannot make decisions regarding your finances, healthcare and other critical matters? Will they act according to your wishes or what they see fit? It is why you ought to take proactive steps now when you are alive and well. Here is what you can do.
Create a power of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to designate a trusted individual to handle your affairs. You can have a financial power of attorney to access and manage your finances and a healthcare power of attorney to work with healthcare providers and ensure your medical care aligns with your preferences.
Appointing trusted and competent individuals can go a long way in propelling your interests when you become incapacitated since you are sure they will follow your instructions.
Create a living will
A living will or advance healthcare directive is another crucial aspect of incapacitation planning. This legally enforceable document outlines your preferences for medical treatment, life support and other healthcare interventions in advance. By clearly expressing your wishes, you relieve your loved ones of the burden of making difficult decisions on your behalf.
Communicate with loved ones
Incapacity planning is not only about legal documents. It is equally prudent to communicate your wishes to loved ones to ensure everyone is on the same page and address any objections. It can help prevent disputes or disagreements when the time comes.
Reaching out for legal guidance can help you explore your options and ensure you create valid legal documents that will protect your interests and provide direction during times of uncertainty.