For perfectly understandable reasons, people often prefer not to think about their own mortality. As a result, however, they often put off creating an estate plan which is a huge mistake. Those same reasons and results also apply to the subject of incapacity. People don’t want to consider the possibility of a tragic accident leading to their sudden incapacity. That, in turn, causes them to put off creating an incapacity plan.
Much as we prefer not to think about it though, the reality is that incapacity can strike anyone, at any age. If you become incapacitated, who will manage your affairs and your property? Without planning ahead, a significant amount of time and money can be wasted answering those questions. Understanding the alternatives for managing your property in the event of your incapacity is a good place to start in your incapacity planning in the Quad Cities.
Incapacity Planning in the Quad Cities
First, it helps to be clear on why pre-planning is important. Let’s assume you own a home that is titled in your name alone. Assume further that a catastrophic car accident leaves you incapacitated tomorrow. Someone needs to take over the management of your home in the short run and may need to rent out or even sell the home down the road. Without prior arrangements, a family member or friend will need to petition a court for the authority to manage your property. At the very least this will take time and money. If more than one person wants to control your property a court battle can ensue – wasting additional time and money and causing a rift among family and friends.
So, how can you prevent this from happening? There are three common alternatives for managing property when someone becomes incapacitated that do not require court intervention:
- Joint ownership – you can add someone to the title of your home which creates a joint ownership situation. Though this allows the individual to manage the property it cannot be sold by a co-owner alone.
- Power of attorney – a durable POA will survive your incapacity and can be structured to give an agent whatever authority you want to grant with regard to your home.
- Revocable living trust – this option is the most versatile and can be used to control any, or all, of your assets in the event of your incapacity. It works by creating a revocable trust and naming yourself as the trustee and also naming the person you wish to have control over your property in the event of your incapacity as the successor trustee. You then transfer your home, and any other property you wish, into the trust. If you become incapacitated, the successor trustee automatically takes over as trustee and has control over all trust assets.
If you are ready to get started with incapacity planning in the Quad Cities, call us today and speak with a member of our legal team to discuss your specific situation.
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