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Planning for Incapacity: Beyond the Basic Health Care Directive

Loune-Djenia Askew, Esq.

Jun 28, 2024

This blog explores the steps you can take beyond just a basic health care directive.

Incapacity refers to a person's inability to manage their own affairs due to mental or physical impairment. This could be the result of an accident, illness, or age-related decline. Planning for incapacity involves creating legal documents that will guide your care and manage your assets if you are unable to do so yourself. This blog explores the steps you can take beyond just a basic health care directive.

Essential Documents for Incapacity Planning

A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to appoint someone you trust to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. Unlike a standard POA, a durable power of attorney remains effective even if you lose mental capacity.

A living trust can be particularly effective in incapacity planning. You can name yourself as the trustee and select a successor trustee who will manage the trust's assets on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This allows for a seamless transition of management without the need for court intervention. Beyond the basic directive, check if your document is comprehensive. It should designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf and provide specific instructions on critical issues like life support, pain management, and other treatments you wish to receive or avoid.

Additional Preparations

A letter of instruction is not a legally binding document but can provide helpful information for those managing your affairs. Such as the location of important documents, passwords to accounts, and even personal messages to loved ones.

An emergency information file should be easily accessible and include copies of your legal documents, a list of assets, contact information for your attorney, financial advisor, and family members, as well as any other information that might be needed quickly.

It’s advisable to work with both legal and financial professionals when planning for incapacity. They can see that all documents are properly drafted, reflect your current wishes, and comply with state laws. Additionally, financial advisors can help that your assets are structured in a way that will support you financially if you become incapacitated.

By setting up a comprehensive plan that includes a durable power of attorney, a living trust, and other supportive documents, both your health care preferences and financial matters are handled according to your wishes, even if you are not able to make those decisions yourself. Start these conversations early with professionals who can guide you through the process to secure peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

For more information, contact our office at Askew & Associates, P.A. by calling 954-546-2699.

Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns.

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