We all know that you arrange for your loved ones to receive their inheritances when you plan your estate. At the same time, you should also address the eventualities that you may face toward the end of your life. We will look at some of those eventualities in this post.
Aging and Incapacity
There is a life expectancy calculator on the Social Security Administration website. If you plug in the information for a man that is turning 67 today, the life expectancy is 85, and it is 87 years for a woman.
You will qualify for Social Security when you are between 66 and 67 years old depending on the year of your birth. When you combine these two facts, you can see that your life expectancy is at least 85 years if you expect to live long enough to collect your full Social Security benefit.
This can provide some perspective when you try to wrap your head around the concept of incapacity.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great source for information about this terrible disease. According to their research, 32 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older have contracted the disease, and the figure is 13 percent for all senior citizens.
Many people with Alzheimer’s induced dementia become unable to handle their own affairs, and this disease is not the only underlying cause of cognitive impairment.
If you do nothing to prepare for possible incapacity, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf. This is a necessary safeguard, but most people would prefer to choose their own representatives when they are capable of doing so.
Another drawback of a guardianship is the fact that family members may not agree with regard to the right course of action. This can cause hard feelings during a difficult time when they should be coming together to support one another.
Living Trust and Durable Power of Attorney
You can take the matter into your own hands if you include an incapacity component within your broader estate plan. A living trust is the ideal estate planning centerpiece for a wide range of people, and this type of trust will provide many benefits that a simple will cannot deliver.
When you have a living trust, you act as the trustee while you are alive and well. This means that you retain complete control of your assets. In the trust declaration, you name a disability trustee to assume the role if it ever becomes necessary.
If you do not have a trust, you can execute a durable power of attorney for property. This would give the agent that you name in the document the ability to act as your representative in the event of your incapacity.
Even if you do have a living trust, you should have a durable power of attorney for property to account for assets that you never conveyed into the trust for one reason or another.
Advance Directives for Health Care
Your plan should be rounded out with advance directives for health care.
One of them is a living will, which is a document you use to record your life-support choices. You can also include organ and tissue donation designations and comfort care medication preferences.
Medical related situations can arise when you are unable to communicate that are not related to the use of life-support. As a response, you should add a durable power of attorney for health care decision-making.
Due to restrictions contained within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), doctors are not allowed to discuss medical conditions with anyone other than the patient. Your incapacity plan should include a HIPAA release that gives your health care agent the ability to communicate freely with your physicians.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Today is the day for action if you are going through life without an estate plan with an incapacity component. You can schedule a consultation appointment at our Oklahoma City estate planning office if you call us at 405-843-6100, and you can fill out our contact form if you would prefer to send us a message.
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