When you are looking ahead toward your senior years, you probably think about the active retirement years that you have looked forward to all of your life. You should certainly plan ahead with these golden years in mind, but you should also consider the twilight years that may follow.
Incapacity is not uncommon among people who have reached an advanced age. There are many causes of incapacity, but Alzheimer’s disease is a leading culprit.
If you were to become incapacitated and unable to make sound decisions on your own, a guardianship hearing could be convened.
During guardianship proceedings, the state would determine whether or not you were in fact incapacitated. Ultimately, a guardian could be appointed to handle your affairs.
Without question, a guardianship can provide a solution when an adult can no longer handle his or her own affairs. At the same time, there are some drawbacks that can enter the picture.
Though the state would your input from the incapacitated adult, ultimately, the decision would be in the hands of the court. This loss of total control with regard to the choice of a representative is a drawback.
Plus, everyone the family may not be on the same page. There can be disagreements during a guardianship hearing, and this is another disadvantage.
The preceding could be time-consuming in some cases, especially if there are conflicting opinions among interested parties, and this is a third pitfall.
Proactive Incapacity Planning
You could prevent a guardianship through proactive incapacity planning. This could be done through the execution of legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney.
There are financial decisions that would present themselves, and there can also be health care decisions. You could execute a durable power of attorney for financial matters and name a specific person as the financial representative.
A durable power of attorney for health care could also be executed to empower a medical decision-maker.
The durable designation is something that you should take note of, because this type of power of attorney would remain in effect even if you were to become incapacitated.
We should also point out the fact that revocable living trust can be used for incapacity planning purposes. The trustee that you name in the trust declaration could be given the power to administer the trust if you were to become incapacitated at some point in time.
Set Up a Free Consultation
Every responsible adults should address the possibility of latter life incapacity. Your incapacity plan should ideally be embedded within a broader, comprehensive estate plan.
If you would like to take action, send us a message through our contact page to set up a free consultation: Bucks County PA Estate Planning Attorneys.
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