Creating a roadmap for the distribution of your estate assets may be the focus of your estate plan; however, a well thought out estate plan can accomplish far more than that. In fact, a comprehensive estate plan should incorporate a variety of additional goals and objectives into the plan. One of those objectives should be incapacity planning. Once you have a better idea of why incapacity planning should be part of your estate plan you will undoubtedly be ready to revise your current estate plan accordingly.
When you hear the word “incapacity” you may immediately think of someone who is old and suffering from Alzheimer’s or another old age related dementia disease. While dementia certainly does cause incapacity, the elderly do not have the market corned on incapacity. Incapacity can happen to anyone at any time in your life. Statistically speaking you stand about a 20 percent chance of suffering a period of incapacity before you even reach retirement age. At age 65 those odds jump to 50 percent and increase yet again to 75 percent if you live to age 85. If you do become incapacitated what will happen to your assets? More importantly, who will make healthcare related decisions for you and/or personal decisions on your behalf? Without an incapacity plan in place the answers to these questions remain unknown.
Worse still, your loved ones could end up in a protracted, and costly, legal battle over the right to control your assets and/or make decisions on your behalf. If you took the time to decide who will receive your estate assets when you die, why wouldn’t you want to decide who will control them while you are alive if you are unable to do so? Likewise, you likely appointed someone to make decisions regarding your funeral and burial after your death so why wouldn’t you want to appoint someone to make decisions that affect you while you are alive?
Including an incapacity plan into your estate plan ensures that your hard earned assets are controlled by someone of your choosing should you be unable to control them yourself one day. It also ensures that the person of your choosing will make life and death medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself someday. It only makes sense to make these decisions yourself and include them in your comprehensive estate plan.
If you have additional questions or concerns about incapacity planning, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.