To get the most out of your estate plan you should ensure that it covers the possibility of your incapacity as well as the certainty of your eventual death. Although many people think of incapacity as an age-related concern, the reality is that you could become incapacitated at any age. To protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones, you need to be prepared for that possibility. To help encourage you, the Los Angeles incapacity planning attorneys at Schomer Law Group, APC explain some of the many benefits of incapacity planning.
Why Do I Need to Worry about Incapacity at My Age?
A common refrain from people who do not have an incapacity plan within their overall estate plan is “I’m too young to worry about incapacity.” While it is true that your odds of being incapacitated increase when you reach your retirement years, you could end up incapacitated tomorrow. Alzheimer’s disease and age-related incapacity are not the only ways to end up incapacitated. A severe accident or debilitating disease could also lead to your incapacity. Knowing that you could wind up incapacitated at any time, doesn’t it make sense to plan for the possibility?
Incapacity Planning Benefits
To further encourage you to incorporate an incapacity planning component into your comprehensive estate plan, consider the following incapacity planning benefits:
- Ability to choose who controls your assets. If you are incapacitated for any significant period of time, someone will need to take over control of your finances and assets. Bills must be paid, income must be accounted for, and assets may require upkeep and maintenance. Someone must have the legal authority to accomplish all of this. If you did not make it clear who should have that authority and take the legal steps necessary to make sure your chosen person gets that authority, your loved ones may end up in court battling over the right to control your finances and assets. An incapacity plan lets you choose who will control your assets and prevents divisive litigation among your loved ones.
- Ability to easily shift control of your assets to your designated replacement. When a loved one suddenly suffers an incapacitating injury or illness, the last thing anyone wants to have to do is go to court to obtain approval to take over control of the incapacitated person’s assets. A revocable living trust offers an excellent incapacity planning benefit by allowing you to appoint yourself as the Trustee and someone of your choosing as the successor Trustee. Once you meet the definition of “incapacitated” the successor Trustee can seamlessly take over the role of Trustee, thereby easily passing control of the trust assets to someone of your choosing.
- Ability to pick who will make healthcare decisions for you. If you are unable to make healthcare decisions some day you probably want to decide who will make those decisions for you, right? The ability to do that is yet another benefit of incapacity planning. In California, one type of advance directive known as a Power of Attorney for Healthcare allows you to designate who you want making healthcare decisions for if your primary doctor determines that you lack the ability to understand the nature and consequences of your health care decisions or the ability to make and communicate your, health care decisions.
- Knowledge that your wishes regarding end-of-life care will be honored. California’s version of a Living Will, referred to as “Individual Instructions” is another type of advance directive that lets you make your wishes regarding important end-of-life healthcare decisions known now to ensure that they are honored down the road.
Are You Ready to Reap the Benefits of Incapacity Planning?
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you are ready to get started with your incapacity plan, contact the experienced Los Angeles incapacity planning attorneys at Schomer Law Group APCby calling (310) 337-7696 to schedule an appointment.