Planning for Your Incapacity

Many people believe that having a Last Will and Testament is all the estate planning they need. But as advancements in medicine extend our lives, developing a mental impairment, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, becomes more likely.

Deborah L Jacobs wrote a great article this week highlighting the importance of planning for incapacity. She highlights a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association which estimates that 1 out of 8 baby boomers will get Alzheimer’s after they turn 65. At age 85, the report estimates that half of all baby boomers will have the disease.

With that in mind, planning for one’s incapacity becomes imperative. Here are a few documents that are essential to ensure that the person you choose is able to handle your medical decisions and financial affairs if you are unable to do so yourself:

  1. Medical Power of Attorney:  A Texas Medical Power of Attorney is a document that allows you, the principal, to designate a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions for you in the event you become unconscious or mentally incapable of making those decisions for yourself.

    Medical powers of attorney are not just for the elderly. Unexpected injuries or illness can occur at any age, so all adults should have one in place.
  2. Durable Power of Attorney: A Texas Durable Power of Attorney gives you the power to appoint a trusted family member or friend as an agent to manage your financial affairs if you are no longer capable of managing them yourself, such as if you become temporarily or permanently disabled.

    If you become disabled and do not have a durable power of attorney in place, a court-ordered guardianship may be necessary. Guardianship is time-consuming and expensive, and can be avoided by creating a power of attorney.
  3. Directive to Physicians: Do you want your life extended by artificial means? A living will, or Texas Directive to Physicians, is a document that allows you to instruct your physicians not to use artificial methods to extend your life in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition.

You can read Mike Wallace Death Underlines Need To Prepare Financially For Risk of Dementia by clicking on the link.

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