The “I” Word

Incapacity-- it is something no one wants to think about, but its a reality that many of us will one day face. Not having the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself is a scary thought. An even worse prospect is facing incapacity without a plan. While incapacity is an still an unknown variable for many of us, our plan for facing it does not have to be.

What can you do to ensure that you will have a say over who makes decisions for you in the areas you no longer have the capacity to control? ---Through control itself.  By exercising your ability to appoint someone now, you are allowing your voice and wishes to be heard for the future. You are ensuring that you are in control of who will stand in your place should you become incapacitated.

How the law treats our incapacity is not a mystery. If we have not prepared for the possibility of incapacity, the law has. Rather than allowing the courts to appoint a guardian or the laws to dictate the priority for who will make decisions for you, why not exercise that power today?

What is the solution? Be prepared. Incapacity can strike any of us at any age and any condition. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

Who will make health care decisions for me should I become disabled?
Who will determine whether or not I am incapacitated?
Who have I named to have access to my medical information?

If you are among the majority of Americans without a plan for incapacity protection, your answers are still an unknown. A proper estate plan will include answers to these questions and will appoint those you have hand picked to take care of the things you may one day not be able to handle.

Planning for incapacity involves more than just appointing someone to make health care decisions on your behalf, it is also about your day to day affairs. If you are serious about your preparedness, then ask yourself the following questions as well:

Who will handle my financial and property matter decisions should I no longer be able to?
How will payments be made, mail be picked up, etc?

Another way of assessing your plan for incapacity is to consider those who rely on you. How will they be affected by your incapacity? Will your assets continue to be used to help those that rely on you? Will your giving to the church or a charity continue?
Do you have a relative or friend that relies on you? Who will continue the care and feeding of your pets?

Remember, when it comes to planning for your incapacity protection, a proper estate plan is a comprehensive and one that addresses the known and unknown. Most importantly, a good estate plan will ensure your voice is heard.

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