No one wants to consider this eventuality, but the sobering reality is that many people become incapacitated toward the end of their lives. This is something to take seriously when you are devising your estate plan.
Ideally, your plan should address potential end-of-life issues. When you take the right steps, you can be comprehensively prepared for the contingencies that may present themselves.
Consequences of Inaction
You and your family can suffer some negative consequences if you fail to plan ahead for possible incapacity. If you do become incapacitated at some point in time, and you have no incapacity planning documents in place, interested parties could petition the state to initiate a guardianship proceeding. Ultimately, the state could decide your fate, and a guardian could be appointed to manage your affairs.
This can be disconcerting on a number of different levels. Most people would like to keep the state out of their private personal and family matters. Plus, the decision-making process would no longer be in your hands, and family members could disagree among themselves with regard to the correct course of action.
You can seize personal control through the proper planning. First, we should point out the value of revocable living trusts for incapacity planning purposes.
When you use this type of trust, you do not surrender control while you are living, and the asset transfers that take place after you pass away would not be subject to the probate process. This is advantageous, because probate can be time-consuming and expensive.
You as the grantor of the trust can act as the trustee while you are alive and fully capable of making sound decisions, but you could empower a disability trustee to the administer the trust in the event of your incapacitation.
If you are going to maintain direct personal possession of your property through to the end of your life and arrange for its transfer through the terms of a last will, you could execute a durable financial power of attorney. The person that you name as the agent would be empowered to handle your financial affairs if you were to become incapacitated at some point in time.
There is also a health care angle to address. Your plan could include a durable power of attorney for health care as well. The agent that you name in the document would be at the ready to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
Take Direct Action
Everyone should have an incapacity plan in place. If you are currently unprepared, contact us through this page to request a free consultation: Hartford CT Estate Planning Attorneys.