When you plan your estate, you work with an attorney to facilitate future asset transfers. This is at the core of the endeavor, but you should ideally see a comprehensive picture. Preparing assets for distribution after your passing is part of the equation, but you should also prepare for the contingencies that you may face toward the end of your life.
People often become unable to handle all of their own affairs late in their lives. There are various different causes of incapacity, but the widespread nature of Alzheimer’s disease is attention-getting to say the least.
The Alzheimer’s Association does a lot of great work educating the public about this disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 40 to 45 percent of people who are at least 85 have contracted the disease.
More and more people are living into their mid-eighties and beyond. The United States Census Bureau has stated that the 10 year age group comprised of people between 85 and 94 years of age grew faster than any other between 2000 and 2010.
When you combine these statistics, you can see that latter life incapacity is a very real possibility.
If you do nothing to prepare for incapacity, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs in the event of your incapacitation. You can prevent a guardianship through the execution of legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney.
When you execute a durable power of attorney, you name an agent or attorney-in-fact. This individual would be empowered to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. Because the document is durable, it would remain in effect even if you become incapacitated.
People will typically execute two different durable powers of attorney: one for medical decision-making, and one for financial matters. You could choose to name two different people to act on your behalf for these two different respective purposes.
If you don’t want to grant the power until and unless you become incapacitated, you could execute springing durable powers of attorney. These documents would spring into effect if you were to become incapacitated.
When you have your durable powers of attorney in place, hand-picked decision-makers will be able to act on your behalf if it becomes necessary.
Durable powers of attorney are important, but your incapacity plan should also include a living will. With this type of will you state your preferences regarding the use of life-sustaining measures.
Free Incapacity Planning Consultation
If you are currently going through life without an incapacity plan, action is required. We offer free consultations, and we would be glad to help you embed an incapacity plan within a broader estate plan.
To set up an appointment, send us a message through this page: Grand Forks ND Estate Planning Attorneys.