There are those who are under the impression that the only thing that they need to plan when they are considering their estate is the eventual distribution of their assets after they pass away. This is really not the case, because it is also important to address matters that can crop up when you are still alive but unable to make decisions for yourself.
As we all know people who are reaching their twilight years sometimes encounter medical problems that lead to physical incapacity. There are others who reach the point where they are unable to make sound decisions due to a decline in their mental capacity. If any interested party feels as though an individual is no longer capable of handling his or her own affairs, they can petition the court to appoint a guardian to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. The guardian makes personal decisions, such as health care decisions as well as where the protected person will reside and how they will spend their time, as well as financial decisions in behalf of the estate of the protected party.
A lot of people don’t feel comfortable with the idea that someone may ask a court to decide who should make decisions in their behalf in the event of their incapacitation.
The way to avoid this is to make those decisions yourself in advance through the execution of legal documents known as health care proxy and durable financial power of attorney. With these two documents you name the person who you empower to make medical decisions on your behalf, and you also name a financial decision maker. In so doing you take personal control of the matter and keep it out of the hands of the court.
Incapacity planning is indeed an essential estate planning component that can save you and your family a great deal of stress should you be unable to make your own decisions at some point in the future.