Planning for Incapacity as Part of Your Estate Planning


Margrit contributed to the Sept./Oct. 2020 issue of Carbon Valley Life with an article on an important but often overlooked aspect of estate planning: planning for incapacity and making sure one's wishes for medical treatment and financial decisions are known by loved ones.

Here's a snippet:

We all know we should do estate planning to make clear our wishes for our young children (who will be their guardian?) or our belongings (who will inherit our assets?) when we are not around anymore to tell anyone. But what often fades into the background is another important aspect of planning: for when we are alive but incapacitated and unable to convey our wishes or make our own medical or financial decisions. A current example that brings this harshly into focus is the severely ill COVID-19 patient on a ventilator for days or weeks at a time.

Another all too common example is a person, often elderly, who develops dementia or other mental illness that renders that person unable to make important decisions, whether temporarily or permanently. Who can make medical decisions for her? What are her wishes for her medical care and treatment? Who can make financial decisions for her? If you end up incapacitated, would you prefer to have made written instructions ahead of time and chosen who you trust to make decisions for you? Would you prefer to ease your family’s anxiety about what your wishes are and who should make decisions for you? Unfortunately, putting off the task of planning for incapacity means it will be too late to manage your life decisions when incapacity strikes. [Click here and go to page 32 to continue reading]

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