Who would care for you if you were to become incapacitated due to an illness or injury? Would they know where to find your insurance policies? Would they know not to buy eggs because of your allergy? Which drug store you use? Your wishes as they relate to end of life decisions? Incapacity planning addresses those questions and many more. Needless to say, it’s a significant aspect of your total estate plan and one that shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.
Incapacity planning covers a number of dynamics depending on your specific needs:
- Making critical financial decisions
- Making medical decisions on your behalf – even if they’re difficult
- Paying your monthly expenses
- Selling property, if applicable; and more
Most of us assume that a will is all we need to cover those bases; however, it’s far more complex than that.
Depending on the needs of the individual or family, incapacity planning could include a number of planning techniques, too. A few of those include:
- Property Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Powers of Attorney
- Living Wills
- Advance Health Care Directives
A property power of attorney allows you to name someone you trust to make decisions regarding any assets, finances, bank accounts, and other types of property, including real estate, you own.
By contrast, amedical power of attorney, or health care proxy, is a document that allows you to delegate another person to make health care decisions on behalf of you should be become incapacitated for any reason.
A living will is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes to your doctors if you are incapacitated. These documents allow you to outline your wishes in any number of scenarios, such as whether you want extraordinary measures taken to save your life and to what extent.
A living will is usually part of your medical power of attorney. The living will and the health care proxy together make up what’s called an “advanced health care directive.”
Guardianship and Conservatorship are used interchangeably, though both are court-supervised proceedings which name an individual or entity to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. A guardianship may also include the duty to care for the incapacitated person.
Southern NH and Essex County MA Incapacity Planning Legal Assistance and Guidance
Our law firm helps clients in Southern NH and Essex County MA create a plan to handle their affairs in the event they become disabled, thereby avoiding the necessity of a public guardianship proceeding. We invite you to contact us today to discuss your Southern NH and Essex County MA incapacity planning needs so that you can better protect your family.