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Planning for Incapacity
At Schneider Rasche LLC, we know how important it is to have a comprehensive estate plan. That is why we include incapacity planning in all of our estate plans. But was is incapacity and how can it affect you?
What Is Incapacity?
The term "incapacity" is defined as an inability to do something or to manage one's affairs. How can incapacity happen? Many people think about incapacity as happening to someone who is older, maybe someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia. But the reality is, that incapacity can happen at any age. Your life could change in the blink of an eye. All it would take to become incapacitated is a serious car accident, a chronic or terminal illness, maybe even a natural disaster. It is something that nobody can predict the timing of, but something that everyone should plan for.
How can you plan for possible incapacity?
Nobody wants to think about the possibility of becoming incapacitated due to a car accident or illness. But the reality is, is that we can have a voice to express our wishes regarding our health care, even if we are incapacitated. How so?
In Oregon, there is a document entitled "The Advance Directive for Health Care". In this document you will be able to answer questions like:
Who do you appoint to be your Health Care Representatives in the event your cannot speak for yourself?
What are your choices regarding extraordinary measures to life support and tube feeding? Would you choose to except them or not?
It is not uncommon to have two family members with differing opinions about continuing life support. One may fight to continue life support, while the other may wish to discontinue it. The real question is, what are your wishes regarding life support? If you have them down in writing, it will not only be easier for the hospital to know what to do, but your family will have the peace of mind of knowing that they carried out your wishes, no matter what they might be.
More questions to think about are:
Who would take care of paying your bills?
Who would help to maintain your home?
Who would you trust to keep your assets in check?
If you have pets, who would take care of them?
As you can see, it is important to be proactive in planning for your incapacity. You must plan BEFORE, NOT AFTER, your incapacity. By then it will be too late to put your decisions in writing. An estate plan that is made today, can help you with the problems that may come tomorrow.
At Schneider Rasche LLC, our estate planning attorneys will help assist you in putting your wishes down in writing. We will create a comprehensive estate plan that will include incapacity planning. Call us today to see how you can start this process at (503) 241-1215 or contact us online.
Estate Planning Articles
These reports are compliments of Schneider Rasche LLC and were written by The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.