If you are one of the millions of Americans who does not have an incapacity plan in place now is a good time to change that. In St. Louis, Missouri, people without a plan offer a variety of explanations for why they have yet to create a plan. Typically, the reasons boil down to one of three – no need for one, no money to create one, no desire to consider the possibility of incapacity.
If you don’t have an incapacity plan in place, consider the top five reasons why you need one.
- To protect yourself. If a tragic accident leaves you incapacitated tomorrow, someone will have to step in and make daily living decisions for you. Although you cannot prevent the possibility of your own incapacity, you can prevent a court from deciding who will make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. An incapacity plan protects you by allowing you to make important decisions now instead of a court making those decisions later.
- To protect your children. If you are a single parent of minor children, who will care for them should you become incapacitated? Creating an incapacity plan lets your wishes with regard to the care of your children be known and allows you to give your choice of guardian the legal authority to care for your children and make decisions for them.
- To protect your assets. In the event of your incapacity, someone will need to take control over your assets if the incapacity last for any length of time. This could include selling assets if the need arises. Your incapacity plan is your opportunity to decide who you trust with this authority.
- To avoid conflict. In the absence of legal documents expressing your wishes, a court will likely need to decide who will have control over you and your estate should you become incapacitated. If more than one family member petitions to become guardian it could turn into a lengthy and divisive conflict.
- To save money. You may have put off creating an incapacity plan because of the money involved in doing so. In the long run, however, you are saving both yourself and your loved ones far more than you are spending. Even an uncontested guardianship proceeding will likely cost more than creating a plan that will avoid the need to petition for guardianship.
If you have put off creating your incapacity plan in St. Louis, now is the time to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.