Incapacity or disability planning is an important part of your estate plan. It is vital to the well-being of yourself and your loved ones that your estate plan effectively guards against the possibility of disability or incapacity.
Most people think about estate planning and create a plan based on their eventual death, but they overlook the possibility of becoming disabled. Yet, becoming disabled could take away your ability to make decisions on your own regarding your health and your estate. In this case, you will need someone to make those decisions for you.
What if I do not have a Disability or Incapacity Plan?
In the event you do not have a specific person designated before you become incapacitated or disabled, the court will appoint one for you. This is called Guardianship, and the person making decisions for you is called the guardian.
Who would you rather have making your personal decisions: Someone you know and trust or someone appointed by the court?
How do I Create an Incapacity or Disability Plan?
Start by completing an Advance Medical Directive including a Health Care Proxy. This will legally designate someone to make health-related decisions on your behalf. This person is known as your Proxy. It is a good idea to talk in detail with this person beforehand. Make sure they will be available to make medical decisions for you. Also, they should be comfortable making tough decisions related to your health. Obviously, this person should be someone you know and trust.
In the event that you cannot make financial decisions on your own as a result of your condition, you also need a Power of Attorney. This document designates someone of your choosing to make all financial decisions on your behalf. Choose someone who you would feel comfortable paying your bills and overseeing your assets.
While you are creating your estate plan, be sure that your Nassau County estate planning attorney includes a thorough disability or incapacity plan. It is a good idea to use a Trust as a tool to help you and your loved ones in the event you are unable to make decisions on your own. The Trust essentially moves all of your assets into a Trust so your loved ones can access and oversee those assets for your benefit.
Creating a thorough and specific estate plan, including an incapacity or disability plan, will help make your life and that of your loved ones much easier.