A properly constructed estate plan will take a holistic, 360 degree approach. Of course, you have to make sure that assets get into the hands of your loved ones in the appropriate manner. This is the part of the estate planning process that everyone understands in a general sense.
At the same time, you should consider issues that you may face toward the end of your life when you may not be able to communicate. This is a difficult subject to consider, but you can maintain some control over the situation if you take the right steps when you are planning your estate.
Advance Directives for Health Care
Let’s look at this important element. First, an incapacity component within your broader estate plan should include documents called advance directives for health care. One advance directive is the living will. This type of will has nothing to do with the facilitation of monetary asset transfers.
When you execute a living will, you record your preferences regarding the use of life support measures like feeding tubes, artificial hydration, resuscitation, and mechanical respiration. You can make a single sweeping declaration, or you can cover each type of life support individually.
Your wishes will be carried out if any of the circumstances that are addressed arise. In addition, you can add your comfort, care, medication, and organ and tissue donation choices.
A medical situation can present itself that is not related to life support when you cannot communicate your own decisions. To account for this possibility, your plan should include an advance directive called a durable power of attorney for health care.
In this power of attorney, you name an agent to act on your behalf with regard to medical decision-making if it becomes necessary. To be clear, they would not have the ability to override your life support choices that are recorded in the living will.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted to protect patient privacy. A provision contained within it prevents doctors from sharing medical information with anyone other than the patient. With this in mind, your plan should include a HIPAA release to give your health care agent the legal right to access your medical info.
Other Incapacity Planning Considerations
You should also address the financial part of the equation when you are putting your incapacity plan together. If you have a living trust, you will be the trustee while you are alive and well. The successor trustee that you empowered to manage the trust after your death can also serve as a disability trustee.
A representative to handle assets that are not held by a trust can be named in a durable power of attorney for property. The “durable” designation is important, because it will remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
Grab our Complimentary Estate Planning Worksheet
We provide a great deal of information about estate planning and nursing home asset protection on this website. It is free of charge, so we invite you to look around to build on your knowledge.
While you are doing so, you may want to take advantage of our estate planning worksheet. It has been carefully prepared to provide a more thorough understanding of this important process. You can get your copy right now if you head over to our worksheet access page and follow the instructions.
Attend a Complimentary Seminar
Our attorneys enjoy meeting up with our neighbors in person at our free seminars. You can learn a lot if you join us, and this is another complimentary opportunity. To see the dates and obtain more information, visit our Connecticut Estate Planning Seminars page.
Ready to Take Action?
If you have already determined that you should work with an attorney to put a plan in place, there is no time like the present. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.
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