Understandably, most people don’t want to think about the possibility of becoming incapacitated, particularly at a young age. It can happen, and if it does someone will have to manage your money. Whether or not you decide who will manage your money depends on whether or not you take the time to plan ahead.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that a spouse, child or parent will be legally allowed access to their assets in the event of incapacity simply because of the relationship. This is generally not the case. Your spouse may have access to some accounts or assets, but others may not be immediately accessible. A parent or child is typically not given any automatic access simple based on the familial relationship.
In the absence of an existing legal plan for your incapacity, your family or loved ones may need to petition a court for the legal right to manage your money. At this point, you have no say in the matter and precious time may be wasted while the court makes a decision.
There are, however, legal steps you can take now that will provide a plan for who will manage your money and other assets in the event of your incapacity. Although each person has unique needs and desires, some common estate planning tools that are used to plan for incapacity include a durable power of attorney or the creation of a revocable trust. Take the time now to discuss these options with your estate planning attorney.