No one wants to think about the possibility of becoming disabled. However, like death, disability can occur without warning at any time. You might want to consider having a plan in place in the event of an unexpected disability. A good estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that meets your needs, using a variety of incapacity planning documents.
Create a Living Will
A Living Will is designed to describe what sort of medical treatment you want prior to death. It is not used to assign assets to certain people, but to explain how you want to be treated. Your Living Will can include provisions for your treatment in the event of severe mental or physical disability.
Living Wills cover things like organ donor preferences, long-term care wishes, and your feelings about treatments like medical life support.
Powers of Attorney
There are two types of Powers of Attorney you may want to consider. The first is a Healthcare Power of Attorney that grants authority for someone of your choosing to speak out on your behalf with regard to healthcare matters and medical treatments. This can come in handy if your Living Will does not address your particular medical situation.
The second POA you’ll want to consider is a Springing Financial Power of Attorney. This document allows someone you choose to handle your financial affairs for you if you are no longer able to do it yourself. The “springing” portion of the document means that it only goes into effect when you have been declared incompetent or otherwise unable to make decisions on your own. As an alternative, a Durable Power of Attorney grants this authority to someone without requiring a formal assessment of your mental capacity.
Create a Revocable Trust
A revocable trust, also called a living trust, can be set up to designate where certain parts of your estate should go in the event of mental or physical disability. You can use this to keep assets in your possession before death or to cover your children’s care during a severe disability. This kind of trust can help to protect you, your estate, and your descendants from financial hardship resulting from injury or disability.
To ensure you have a solid plan for disability, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.