Life is unpredictable, and we never really know what will happen as we go through our daily lives. There’s always a possibility that you will become incapacitated or unable to handle your responsibilities due to either a mental or physical injury or condition. This is why everyone needs to have an incapacity plan in place. Incapacity planning involves preparing for the possibility that you will one day not be able to manage your life on your own and will need some help. Numerous legal documents can be used to designate someone else to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. If you don’t plan ahead, the court may be petitioned to intervene through a guardianship hearing or interdiction, and you may find yourself in a challenging position that could have easily been avoided. This article will help you make informed decisions regarding your life through estate planning and incapacity planning.
Protect Your Wishes During Incapacity
You can execute various legal documents to ensure your wishes will be honored should you ever become incapacitated. You may be concerned about your finances and healthcare options. This is where a durable power of attorney, or POA, comes into play. You have the opportunity to appoint someone that you trust to handle your affairs, both financially and medically. This individual is considered your agent and will be given the authority to act on your behalf for several activities, such as making withdrawals from your bank account, paying bills, and making healthcare decisions on your behalf. However, you must make this appointment before you become incapacitated and not after. It’s too late once you are unable to handle your own affairs, and you will not be able to appoint a power of attorney legally. It’s important to spend time thinking about who is responsible and organized enough to be your appointed as your power of attorney before you make the designation. While you can always update your estate plan and change your power of attorney designation, people often forget, and you could easily end up with the wrong person in your corner.
How to Choose a Power of Attorney
The decision to appoint someone to act on your behalf should not be taken lightly. It’s important to consider multiple options before settling on someone. You also should not appoint someone just because they offer to serve as your power of attorney agent. While this individual does not need to be a professional or an attorney, they should be well-organized and financially literate. You also want to choose someone who knows you and understands your wishes regarding your financial and healthcare decisions. This person should not only be trusted by you but also someone who will always act in your best interests. An attorney can help you choose a suitable power of attorney to serve on your behalf.
Designate Incapacity Plan Preferences
A comprehensive incapacity plan can include legal documents that help you state your preferences concerning life-sustaining procedures, emergency medical care, and advanced healthcare directives. An individual has the power to fully outline what they want to happen in nearly every single possible outcome with the right incapacity legal documents.
What Happens If You Don’t Have an Incapacity Plan
There are a number of unfavorable consequences if you become incapacitated and do not have an incapacity plan in place. The court may be compelled to intervene and appoint someone such as a conservator to handle your financial obligations. This procedure may conflict with your wishes, but there is often no other option if you did not execute the right legal documents beforehand. The court process can be extremely expensive and may involve multiple court hearings and expert witnesses. Not having an incapacity plan in place can also create friction among family members. Family disputes are frequent in regard to this type of legal matter, and you may have family members try to take control of your finances.
Incapacity Planning Attorney
Incapacity planning is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your estate and your loved ones are protected. Louisiana law is complex and you need someone who can walk you through the process. An estate planning attorney can help you develop a comprehensive incapacity plan so that you can have peace of mind that your assets will be taken care of in the event you become unable to manage your life.
Progeny Law Firm helps clients with estate and incapacity planning in Baton Rouge, LA. Call (225) 465-1090 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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