One of the benefits of having a comprehensive estate plan is to plan for incapacity. There are several different types of documents to include in in an estate plan that can help estate planners prepare for if they become incapacitated and cannot direct their medical or financial affairs.
How to make a plan for incapacity
Making a plan for incapacity can be done during the estate planning process. Documents the estate planner can include in their estate plan related to incapacity are:
- Power of attorney for financial affairs: While the estate planner is incapacitated, if they have a power of attorney for financial affairs in place, the agent designated in the power of attorney will be able to conduct their financial affairs on their behalf. The agent will have the authority to pay their bills, file tax returns, mortgage and sell real estate, make financial decisions for the estate planner and address any other financial matters described in the power of attorney.
- Power of attorney for medical affairs: If the estate planner becomes incapacitated and has a power of attorney for medical affairs in place, it will allow the agent designated in it to direct the estate planner’s medical affairs. Sometimes the term advance healthcare directive is also used.
- Living will: A living is used to specify the types of medical care, such as life-sustaining and end-of-life medical care and treatment, the estate planner wants to receive or does not want to receive.
- Revocable living trust: A revocable living trust can also be used to manage the estate planner’s medical and financial affairs if they are incapacitated.
An incapacity plan can benefit both the estate planner and their family during an exceptionally difficult time. For that reason, estate planners should know what to consider including as they are developing theirs.