Why Planning for Incapacity Is Essential
A carefully formulated estate plan involves preparing for both the expected as well as the unexpected, including such possibilities as incapacitation. Effective incapacity planning is a must not just for seniors but for everyone, as an injury or illness can befall at any time regardless of your stage in life. Consult with a dedicated Kentucky estate planning attorney to shield your assets in the event of future incapacitation.
Tremendous advances in medicine and better living conditions help us enjoy much longer life expectancies than our previous generations. Unfortunately, aging also brings with it some unwanted consequences in the form of increased health concerns and medical complications.
At the same time, a sudden accident or serious illness can strike at any age and at any time, making the future uncertain. Incapacity planning is the right way to safeguard your interests and protect your loved ones against such an eventuality.
Prudent estate planning is more than just the distribution of your assets after your death, using instruments such as wills and trusts. Incapacity planning is an often neglected but essential part of an effective estate plan, focusing on how to handle your inability to take financial and medical decisions in case of an injury or illness.
Important Incapacity Planning Documents and Their Significance
Incapacity planning mainly pertains to taking preemptive measures to counter temporary or permanent incapability due to sudden illness or injury. It involves creating crucial healthcare and financial management documents, including:
Healthcare or assisted living directive is a document that communicates your medical care choices in the event of you suffering impairment to the extent of not being able to express them yourselves. This document addresses areas of health and advanced care, such as hospitalization, resuscitation, intubation, and so forth.
A healthcare directive helps you specify your preferences regarding future healthcare and the extent of medical intervention. Your caregivers and family can use these documents as a roadmap for your healthcare needs in the future, when you may be incapable of making those decisions for yourself.
A healthcare directive, though quite similar to a living will, comes into effect the instant you are incapacitated, and unable to communicate because of unconsciousness or a medical condition. With a healthcare directive, you can also specify the types of medical treatments that are not acceptable to you.
For instance, you can specify if you do not want to be put on a ventilator or any other life-prolonging equipment if there seems little or no hope of recovery. Once executed, a healthcare directive is not irrevocable, and you have the choice to revoke or amend it at any time.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A healthcare directive may not be able to address all eventualities arising out of your incapacitation. This gives rise to the need for a healthcare power of attorney, which is essentially a legal document that enables you to appoint an agent who can make healthcare medical intervention decisions on your behalf when you may not be able to communicate yourself.
This medical power of attorney document takes into account a range of healthcare and medical emergency scenarios. Your agent can take decisions according to your stated wishes and medical preferences. In addition, they can also exercise their powers to perform these actions on your behalf:
- Gather medical information pertaining to your healthcare
- Help check you in and out of healthcare institutions and medical facilities
- Appoint or discharge people responsible for your medical care
- Review and assess your medical documents and healthcare records
Durable Power of Attorney
With the help of a durable power of attorney, you can designate a person to act on your behalf in case you become incapacitated to do so yourself. The individual with the durable power of attorney can look after your financial responsibilities, legal matters, and property transactions.
This document empowers your agent to pay your bills and taxes, besides managing your financial affairs, without you losing any control over these matters. While you continue to have the authority to amend or revoke the power of attorney at any time if you wish to do so, a court may decide matters related to the distribution of your assets in the absence of such a document.
Speak to a Seasoned Kentucky Estate Planning Attorney for Your Incapacity Plan
Consult a Kentucky estate planning lawyer to ensure that you do not overlook anything in planning for any future incapacity. We can help and guide you in getting the essential documents in place, to take care of your healthcare and financial interests.
The attorneys at John H. Ruby & Associates can advise you about the available options presently, and how regularly you should check in to update your estate plan to be able to keep up with the changes in the laws.
If you would like to learn more about incapacity planning and other estate planning vehicles, John H. Ruby & Associates is here to help. Call our office at (502) 373-8044 or send us an online message for a free initial consultation to start protecting your assets today.