Incapacity planning means taking control over a situation in which you become incapacitated. While you cannot communicate or make decisions during your time of incapacity, you can take steps in advance to try to protect as much of your autonomy as possible. The process must begin well before you are incapacitated, however, so you need to act quickly.
Zimmer Law Firm can assist you with the incapacity planning process. We help you to make a plan for both management of your assets and affairs as well as a plan for healthcare choices in an emergency situation. As our legal team provides help, you will quickly begin to see the biggest benefits of incapacity planning.
What are the Biggest Benefits of Incapacity Planning?
Incapacity planning must be done as early as possible so you have a plan in place if and when something happens that leaves you incapacitated. The benefits of planning ahead in case of incapacity include:
- Peace of mind. Disability can happen any time. The Social Security Administration reports one in four people aged 20 now will be disabled before reaching retirement age. Some of the illnesses and injuries which can disable someone can result in the individual no longer being able to make or communicate decisions. An incapacity plan is essential so someone can take over as caregiver and decision-maker in this situation.
- Protection for your family. If you have no incapacity plan, your family is going to have to decide what kind of medical care you require if you become seriously ill or injured and cannot tell the doctor what treatments you want to receive or decline. This results in situations where families end up having to order the discontinuation of a feeding tube or the use of a breathalyzer which is keeping someone alive. This is painful for family members.
- Avoiding legal processes at the time of incapacity. If you have no plan in place and your family must begin making decisions on your behalf, your family will need to go to court and begin guardianship proceedings. This can be burdensome, expensive, and complicated for a family dealing with a medical crisis.
- Protecting assets. You should have a plan for someone to take over the management of your assets right away if something happens to you. This way, you can choose a trusted person who will know how to manage your property and investments. This individual can take over with asset management right away so you don’t sustain losses.
- Avoiding unwanted medical care: You can specify your wishes in advance so you won’t get care that you are not comfortable receiving. Using advanced directives, you can also dictate what types of life-saving care you do want in an emergency.
These are some of the many different benefits of incapacity planning. Everyone’s situation and goals are different, so you should talk with an attorney to find out what is right for you.
What Does Incapacity Planning Involve?
Incapacity planning can involve using a variety of different tools to make your wishes known in case something happens to you. Your plan could include:
- Naming a healthcare proxy who has the authority to make healthcare choices on your behalf.
- Creating a power of attorney so you may name an agent who will be vested with authority to manage assets and make your decisions if you cannot.
- Creating a living will specifying the kinds of medical care you want to receive in the event of a terminal illness, serious injury, or end stage disease.
- Creating a Do Not Resuscitate order to prevent extraordinary measures from being used to prolong your life.
- Creating a living trust which can allow you to name a backup trustee who will manage trust assets in the event of your incapacity.
There are also additional steps you may wish to consider, such as making plans for a nursing home to be paid for if you have an incapacitated illness or injury that necessitates custodial care. An incapacity planning lawyer will help you to create a plan tailored to you.
Getting Help from an Incapacity Planning Lawyer
Incapacity planning can be stressful because it addresses issues most people don’t like to think about. Unfortunately, if you put off the creation of your plan and something ends up happening, it will be too late. You don’t want to take a chance, so you should begin making a plan for incapacity as early as possible. To find out more, give us a call at 513.721.1513. You can also join us for a free seminar to find out more about the different steps which may be involved in the incapacity planning process.