Estate Planning Attorney
Imagine what would happen to your loved ones if you were in an accident that put you in a coma tomorrow. You trust them to take care of your affairs while you cannot, but they may not be able to. Incapacity planning is just as important as making your will and planning for what will happen after your death. If something should happen and you are unable to speak for yourself, there will be many urgent matters to attend to including your basic financial needs, such as paying bills, and decisions about your medical care. Of course, if you have children or pets, you need to include provisions for their care. Incapacity planning is vital to your family’s wellbeing, even in short-term situations. This is another area where an estate planning attorney can help you prepare.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
When you are unable to handle your own affairs, someone needs to take care of your day-to-day business such as paying the bills. Even if your medical condition is temporary, you do not want to wake up and discover that your power has been shut off or you have been evicted because your rent was not paid. And these are just minor examples of the problems that can arise.
A financial power of attorney gives the person of your choice the authority to access your accounts and handle business matters for you without having to petition the court.
Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney
A living will is a document that states your wishes regarding certain medical decisions, such as whether you want to be resuscitated, be on life-support, and other major decisions that anyone can plan for ahead of time with a little thought.
The medical power of attorney gives the person you choose the power to make medical decisions on your behalf. These are generally more detailed decisions that would be almost impossible to plan for and include in your living will.
Nomination of Guardian for a Minor Child
Of course you want to designate who will be your child’s guardian if you are incapacitated. In some states this is not binding and the court can decide, but it is still an important document that will be considered.
Planning for Pet Care
There are several options to provide for your pet’s care. You should talk to a local estate planning law firm about the best way to plan for your pet in your state. The financial power of attorney gives your designated agent the authority to use funds to pay for pet care and you can include a provision that specifically authorizes payment to a pet caregiver, but this does not specify the terms of care. A pet trust is something else to consider.
To learn more about incapacity planning, please search for an experienced estate planning attorney near you.