Just as most people prefer not to think about their death, people frequently ignore the possibility of becoming incapacitated at some point in the future. The reality, however, is that you could become incapacitated tomorrow as a result of a catastrophic collision or a debilitating illness. If that occurs, have you given any thought to who will make decisions for you? Chances are you haven’t; however, it may be time to incorporate an incapacity plan into your overall estate plan.
Incapacity in Quad Cities Illinois
The term “incapacity” can have slightly different meanings, depending on the legal issue involved. In Quad Cities Illinois area, the term frequently comes up when a petition for guardianship or conservatorship is filed and/or when medical decisions must be made for a person who is unable to make them. In short, “incapacity in Quad Cities Illinois” means that you are unable to properly care for yourself and/or unable to make informed decisions. Imagine that you are involved in a collision tomorrow that puts you in a coma. Clearly, you are unable to make any decisions for yourself at this point. Of immediate concern are decisions regarding your medical care; however, if you remain incapacitated for any length of time someone will also need to make decisions regarding your assets, living arrangements, and finances. If you do not have an incapacity plan in place there is no way to know with certainty who will make those decisions for you. If you are married, your spouse will likely be able to make the majority of those decisions for you but even that is not guaranteed. Your family members could end up battling it out in court if they are not in agreement regarding who should make decisions for you. Not only could this cause conflict within the family but it will also likely waste a significant amount of time and money.
So how can you avoid as scenario such as this? The simple answer is to incorporate incapacity planning documents into your estate plan. A living will, for example, allows you to make important healthcare decisions for yourself ahead of time should you ever become incapacitated. You may also choose to execute a power of attorney for healthcare which allows you to appoint someone to be your agent for important healthcare decisions in the event you become incapacitated. Other types of powers of attorney can also be used to appoint someone as an agent to make financial decisions for you during your incapacity as long as the power of attorney is durable. Titling assets and property jointly can also be part of an incapacity plan because it allows another person (of your choosing) to have the some legal authority over the property that you have.
Consult with your estate planning attorney in the Quad Cities to decide which incapacity planning strategies you should incorporate into your overall estate plan.
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