What will happen to your estate and loved ones if you become incapacitated from an illness, accident or age? Ideally, you would have addressed such a situation in a will. Incapacitation planning is an important aspect of your will and estate planning.
Such plans can ensure that your dependents will be provided for; guarantee an orderly management of your properties; and indicate your end-of-life treatment if in a vegetative state.
Steps such as durable power of attorney, living will
Here are some steps you will take to accomplish this:
- Appoint a durable power of attorney: This person is usually a trusted relative or friend who handles certain health, legal and financial responsibilities. He or she will manage your bank and investment accounts; buy and sell properties; manage your assets and pay bills; and open your mail.
- Assign a health care power of attorney: This person will understand and determine your medical treatment, including doctor, hospital selection and long-term care; and keep your best interests in mind when making such decisions.
- Create a living will: This is a statement that declares your wishes related to the life-sustaining medical intervention that you want or do not want if you become terminally ill and cannot communicate. Do you want treatment stopped? Do you wish not to be resuscitated? Address these questions in a living will.
- Choose a guardian for your minor children: Determine who will take care of your children in case you die. You want to make sure they are in good hands.
- Consider creating a trust: This is a legal structure that allows you to put conditions on how and when your assets are to be distributed upon your death.
- Always update your will whenever a major life change occurs.
Discuss this scenario with your family, too. Having a well-conceived estate plan can provide you and your family with peace of mind. It's one less chore that your family will have to do during the grieving process.