Everyone should have an incapacity component embedded within a broader estate plan. In this post we will look at the importance of incapacity planning.
Aging of the Population
People are living longer and longer lives. The average life span is 78 years, but it becomes likely that you will live into your eighties if you reach the age of 65.
The United States Census Bureau tells us that the age group comprised of people between 85 and 94 years of age grew faster than any other group between the last two censuses.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
If you are pragmatically looking ahead toward the contingencies that you may face toward the end of your life, you should know some facts about Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association website is a very useful online resource if you are looking for information about this disease
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 40 to 45 percent of people who are 85 years of age and older are suffering from Alzheimer’s. People who are suffering from Alzheimer’s induced dementia are typically going to become unable to make their own decisions.
Alzheimer’s is a huge threat, but it is not the only cause of incapacity among people who have reached an advanced age.
When you combine all of these facts, you can see that a very significant percentage of seniors will become unable to handle their own affairs at some point in time.
If you take no steps in advance to prepare for this contingency, the court could appoint a guardian to handle your decision-making if you were to become incapacitated. This is a necessary safeguard, but there are some drawbacks to consider.
The matter of choice is the first thing that comes to mind. The court would choose a guardian to act on your behalf, and the decision would be out of your hands.
There can also be hard feelings among family members who may not agree with regard to the correct course of action.
Durable Powers of Attorney
You can prevent a guardianship and empower decision-makers who would be able to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated at some point of time. This is done through the execution of legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney.
With a durable power of attorney for health care you can name a health care decision-maker. If you want someone else to manage your finances, you could name a different representative in your durable financial power of attorney.
Your incapacity plan should also include a living will. This type of will has nothing to do with the transfer of monetary assets. You use a living will to express your wishes regarding the utilization of life-support measures.
Incapacity Planning Consultation
If you would like to put an incapacity plan in place, we can help. Our firm offers free consultations to people in the Quad Cities area, and you can request an appointment through this link: Quad Cities Estate Planning.
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