What Wills Do Not Cover: Incapacity Planning

What Wills Do Not Cover: Incapacity Planning

A will is an important part of an overall effective estate plan. Wills, however, do not become operative until death.  In other words, if the person signing the will becomes incapacitated, the will does not contain provisions that will help in dealing with this scenario.  Therefore, incapacity planning is an essential part of a comprehensive estate plan.  

What is Incapacity Planning?

Incapacity planning includes any planning efforts made to ease the burden on family and loved ones in the event of incapacity. Planning allows you to take control of the situation now, while healthy, to make your wishes clear and to ensure wishes are honored.  Incapacity scenarios can run the gamut from temporary (e.g. injuries from a car accident) to more permanent in nature (e.g. Alzheimer’s and dementia).  

Benefits of Incapacity Planning

Without a plan, if you become incapacitated, the likely outcome is a guardianship proceeding whereby a judge will decide who may make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.  Guardianships are expensive, time-consuming, and intrusive in nature, and they often require regular accountings to the court.  

Alternatively, by putting an incapacity plan into place now, you will be able to proactively take control of the situation and decide who may make medical and financial decisions for you, with specific direction based upon your preferences, if you should become incapacitated.  The following are some key benefits:

  • Choose Your Medical Care – You can include an advance healthcare directive in your incapacity planning so you identify exactly what types of medical treatment you want in specific situations.
  • Identify Decision Makers – When you plan ahead, you won’t be stuck with whomever the courts appoints as your guardian. You can actually identify different individuals to handle various health care decisions and financial decisions based on your specific wishes.
  • Quick Transition – Another major benefit of this type of planning is that there is no need for an extensive legal battle to establish guardianship. Once you are declared incapacitated, those who you identified will generally have an immediate right to act on your behalf without court approval.  

Get the Peace of Mind You Desire

Above all, perhaps the biggest benefit to incapacity planning is the peace of mind it can bring in knowing that a plan of your choosing is now in place. If you would like to learn more about the many benefits of incapacity planning, please contact Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A. to discuss your options.