Estate Planning: Preparing for Incapacity or End of Life

Estate Planning: Preparing for Incapacity or End of Life

Creating an estate plan is more complex than people usually think. In most situations, we see that people prepare solely for things they can anticipate. However, it is essential to think about the scenarios that are not likely to happen. That way, you can have an advantage even in situations that look like a disadvantage.

What do we think when we say that? It happens when the owners end up incapacitated or its life ends unexpectedly. While this may look like something only seniors are interested in, it is presumable that the younger generation of people can sustain injuries that can make them incapacitated.

Estate planning is important not only for individuals but also for the family of that individual. We’re sure everyone would like to have their family taken care of in such situations. Naturally, this is complex planning that requires much more effort on your behalf. As a result, the planner needs more education on this subject.

Today, we want to shine a light on how to do this properly.

What is Incapacity Planning?

The aging process, and everything that comes with it, is inevitable. Also, we can all agree that everyone’s future is uncertain. So, we should make every day and every decision count. For that reason, thinking ahead when possible should be an utmost priority for every person out there. Incapacity planning is just a fraction of the overall plan.

Incapacity planning is a process of making your assets count in a time of need. It is not all about creating a will that delegates the properties to your inheritors according to your wishes. It is also significant to see whether possible to pay some of the medical bills in the time of need.

When the owner doesn’t care about this plan, the court will take action and decide. We can all agree that decisions made by the court usually do not resemble the wishes of the late owner. Plus, it is more than likely that most of the inheritors will end up unhappy because of these decisions.

What are the Most Important Steps?

Now, we will provide our readers with the most crucial steps they should undertake.

Itemize Your Inventory

Before you are ready to do anything, it is essential to itemize your inventory as detailed as possible. Of course, we are talking about making a list of both inside and outside of the property you own. If you own multiple ones, this list immediately becomes much lengthier, right? So, the list will not include only properties but also things like vehicles, antiques, jewelry, etc.

Creating this list will last much longer than you initially planned. Besides enlisting all the things you own, it wouldn’t hurt to add some notes on whom you would like to receive some of them in case something happens to you. That way, the inheritors will have a much easier time dividing all of these.

On the other side, the inventory list is beneficial for the owner since it will be much easier to monitor them closely. Not to mention that this approach makes it easier for the owner to see whether the property’s value has increased. It can happen either due to the movements in the market or some investments, like house renovation.

Gather Important Documents

The condition for you to present certain assets as your own in front of the court is to have all the necessary documentation that proves it. Therefore, gather all the documents like vehicle titles, property deeds, and other ownership papers. Also, have all the contact information for the insurance broker, medical professional, and lawyer.

Put all these papers in one place where you can reach them in a time of need. At the same time, make sure to inform your loved ones where these documents are, just in case you cannot provide them at the moment. Any other scenario will raise many problems you need to take care of.

Just think about it, a plan will become smoother in a situation when you need to do it urgently. As a precaution, you should grant your attorney the authority to reach for these papers. That way, the professional can handle the situation the best way possible.

Hiring a Competent Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer to handle your personal and financial matters if you become incapacitated is one of the main elements of having proper incapacity planning. This professional should be both experienced and competent. The economic future of you and your family requires the aid of a professional.

It’s worth noting that awarding the attorney a right to manage the assets is accepted by the court only if the issuer is mentally competent. There are many cases where lawyers scam a mentally incompetent individuals seeking their rights. So, this is something you should have in mind.

When the owner fails to do so, the court will intervene. Therefore, there’s no guarantee that you will have someone competent to take care of your interests as well as you want them to be. It is also possible that the court will appoint someone who will act as a conservator or a guardian of the estate, which is never a good thing if we’re honest.

Write a Will

Writing a will becomes a possibility for an individual after that person becomes a legal adult. Different regulations treat this question differently. In most cases, the age for a legal adult is 18. Compiling a will means the issuer will distribute all of its assets among the beneficiaries named in the document.

One more thing that a will can include is a legal guardian for minor children. In the last two decades, a significant element was choosing a person who guards the pets. In many cases, you will see that issuers leave their assets to charities. They are then free to use them however they want.

An important thing we want to point out is that compiling this document is an inexpensive procedure. You don’t need to pay a lot of money to a lawyer who will be responsible for meeting all the legal requirements for this sort of procedure. It is also possible to write it on your own, and the attorney will put it in the proper context later.

What are the Benefits?

Next, it is essential to understand all the benefits of incapacity planning.

1.   Preventing Court Decisions

We’ve mentioned that not having a plan means the court will make all the decisions. As you can presume, this is not the thing that will meet all your preferences and needs in the way you want them. So, the major benefit of compiling a plan is to prevent these court decisions.

If the issuer is lucky, the court will select the professional the issuer wants. Still, there are no guarantees this will happen. Sometimes, the professional responsible for your assets doesn’t have your best interests in mind.

2.   Healthcare Decisions

Other than handling the issues related to the property and other assets, this plan also decides who will be the healthcare proxy. By doing that, you are deciding who is eligible to make every relevant decision regarding the sort of medical care the issuer needs to receive.

While this may not seem like an important matter to some, we beg to differ. In a situation when the issuer is not able to make any decision on this subject, having someone eligible for making these decisions is of big help.

3.   Incapacity is Unpredictable

You will agree that incapacity is not something we can predict. It is not only a question seniors should worry about. Plus, it’s significant to point out that things such as dementia are also a form of incapacity. Since predicting these things is impossible, it is a must to think ahead and prevent any issues that may rise.

A careful person always thinks a few steps ahead. You can perceive an estate incapacity plan as a sort of insurance. Both you and your family need to have all the protection if something happens to you. Even though the chances of you becoming incapacitated are not that high, being prepared for every scenario is what we sincerely recommend.

4.   Peace for a Family

Besides the person who has suffered the injuries, the family is the next line of those who will feel all the problems that will pop up. We are talking about high levels of stress and anxiety that can last for quite a long time in the future. Imagine a situation when there’s no incapacity plan. These levels will be much higher.

The accumulated stress can turn into conflict situations. There are many cases when families have been torn apart as a result. Since no regulation says every person needs one of these, it is up to you to prevent these uncomfortable situations by thinking ahead.

Making the necessary steps to ensure your family’s future is a complex procedure. Numerous aspects require your attention. Here, we’ve presented some of the most crucial ones. Also, you can find some benefits of this approach. We’re sure you will find this insight to be of great assistance.

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