You may look at estate planning as a purely financial endeavor, but this is only part of the process.
People usually experience some sort of decline before passing away. It is important to consider these latter life eventualities when you are putting your estate plan in place.
Incapacity Is Common
When you are perfectly capable of handling your affairs on your own, you may find it difficult to envision a time when you may be incapable of making sound decisions. This is certainly understandable, and this is not a very pleasant subject to consider.
At the same time, it is important to be practical so that you can prepare yourself for whatever may come your way during your twilight years.
Incapacity is actually quite common among elders. Some people become physically unable to communicate, and others suffer from mental incapacitation.
Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of mental incapacitation. Everyone has heard of the disease, but its widespread nature may surprise you. According to data provided by the Alzheimer’s Association, 40 to 45 percent of people who are 85 years of age and older have contracted the disease.
This is a very attention-getting percentage, and Alzheimer’s is just one cause of incapacity. When you consider the facts, you can see that incapacity is a very real possibility if you live to an advanced age.
Durable Powers Of Attorney
Your estate plan should include an incapacity planning component. To prepare for possible incapacity, you could execute legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney.
With a power of attorney you name an agent or attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf. These legal devices are used for various different purposes.
The “durable” designation is relevant here. Durable powers of attorney are used to prepare for possible incapacity, because they would remain in effect even if you become incapacitated. A power of attorney that is not durable would no longer be in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
If you were incapacitated, financial decision-making would be necessary, and health care decisions would also present themselves.
You may want one person to handle your financial affairs, and you may want a different individual to make medical decisions on your behalf. To accomplish this, you could execute two different durable powers of attorney: a durable power of attorney for health care (sometimes called a health care proxy), and a durable financial power of attorney. When you are creating the documents, you could name two different respective attorneys-in-fact.
Free Incapacity Planning Consultation
If you would like to put these important incapacity planning documents in place, we can help. Our firm offers free consultations, and we would be glad to assist you.
You can send us a message through this link to set up an appointment: Bucks County PA Incapacity Planning.
To learn more, please download our free Durable Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania here.
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