ARE YOU PREPARED FOR INCAPACITY?
On behalf of The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC on Tuesday, May 28, 2013.
When you think about estate planning the financial aspect may be the first thing that comes to mind and of course it is important to prepare your assets for eventual distribution to your loved ones after your passing. However, this is not the only component to a well conceived, holistic estate plan. To be fully prepared it is important to consider the possibility of incapacitation as well.
If you were to become unable to make your own decisions without planning for the possibility in advance you could be subject to a guardianship proceeding. If the guardianship petition was granted you could become a ward of the state and a court-appointed guardian would act in your behalf. Aside from the fact that you may have no input into who this guardian will be, a guardianship proceeding can be expensive and this is a consideration as well.
You can avoid guardianship proceedings if you plan ahead intelligently. People who utilize a revocable living trust to transfer assets to their loved ones will often include a disability trustee who would handle the funds in the event of the incapacitation of the grantor.
Durable powers of attorney are also utilized in incapacity planning. You could choose to execute a durable power of attorney for health care and a financial power of attorney, selecting different individuals to act as attorneys-in-fact for each respective purpose should you choose to do so.
Veterans deal with this issue when applying for benefits as well, and if not properly prepared for, can delay the receipt of benefits for up to two years.
Incapacity is very common among the oldest old and it is something to take seriously. If you are currently unprepared, now would be a good time to take action and arrange for a consultation with an experienced San Bernardino estate planning lawyer.