A comprehensive, well-constructed estate plan will anticipate eventualities that you may experience toward the end of your life. When you are thinking about the future, you should look past the active retirement years and consider the twilight years that will inevitably follow.
It can be hard to envision yourself becoming unable to handle your own affairs, but longevity statistics are quite instructive on this level. The lifespan for someone that is turning 67 on this day is 85 years for a man, and 87 years for a woman. Census data has indicated that the oldest segment of the population is growing faster than any other.
When you are in your 80s, incapacity can definitely strike. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, and about one third of people that are 85 years of age and older have contracted the disease. This is a widespread threat to our nation’s elderly, and it is not the only cause of incapacity.
Advance Directives for Health Care
When you acknowledge that you should include an incapacity planning component within your broader estate plan, the next step is to execute the correct documents. A living will is an advance health care directive that is used to state your preferences regarding the utilization of life-sustaining measures.
This is a very personal decision, and it is a choice that you should make for yourself in advance. When you have a living will in place, your own true wishes will be carried out if you are ever in this situation, and this very difficult decision would be taken out of the hands of your loved ones.
Another advance directive that should be part of the plan is a durable power of attorney for health care. There could be some decisions that must be made that are not directly related to the utilization of life support. The agent that you name in this document would be empowered to act on your behalf in this capacity if it ever becomes necessary.
Under the terms of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), health care professionals cannot share information with anyone other than the patient. To give your health care agent the ability to communicate freely with your doctors, you can include a HIPAA authorization in your incapacity plan.
In addition to the medical side of the equation, you also should address financial decision-making. If you use a living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan, you would act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are alive and well.
To account for possible incapacity, you can name a disability trustee to assume the role if you become unable to handle your own affairs.
Another document that is used to name a potential financial representative is a durable power of attorney for property. The agent that you choose would be able to make monetary decisions on your behalf.
This would be necessary if you do not have a living trust, and even if you do, you may have property in your possession that was never conveyed into the trust. The inclusion of this device would account for the management of this property.
Take Action Today!
Now is the time to spring into action if you are going through life without an estate plan that includes an incapacity component.
We would be glad to gain an understanding of your situation and your legacy goals and make the appropriate recommendations. If you decide to move forward, we will help you create a tailor-made estate plan that is ideal for you and your family.
You can schedule a consultation right now if you give us a call at 843-815-8580. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use if you would like to send us a message.