No one ever plans to become disabled. Although everyone realizes that life will end someday, few of us consider the possibility that we will spend a significant portion of our lives unable to fully care for ourselves. Very often, life gets in the way and bad things happen to ordinary people. Disability doesn’t just happen to the elderly or those who pursue risky and dangerous hobbies. Motor vehicle accidents, work-related injuries, and otherwise common illnesses render many individuals disabled or ‘incapacitated’ every year.
Incapacity planning must be a part of every comprehensive estate plan. Proper planning will allow you to legally designate individuals who can make decisions for your care and empower them to manage your property if you are unable to do so for yourself. As a part of estate planning and elder law planning, there will be sophisticated legal documents involved, but dedicated and experienced legal counsel will help you understand your options and prepare a plan that is tailored to your needs.
When a person becomes disabled, he or she is often unable to make personal and/or financial decisions. If you cannot make these decisions, someone must have the legal authority to do so for you. Otherwise, your family must apply to the court for appointment of a guardian for either your person or your property, or both. At a minimum, you need broad powers of attorney that will allow agents to handle all of your property if you become disabled, as well as the appointment of a decision-maker for health care decisions. Alternatively, a fully funded Revocable Living Trust can ensure that you and your property will be cared for as you desire, pursuant to the highest duty under the law ‘ that of a trustee. A fully funded Revocable Living Trust can be your guide during disability and avoid an extremely costly guardianship proceeding in court.
A Supplemental Needs Trust for a disabled loved one is critical to preserve one’s government benefits and foster a better quality of life by having funds available to supplement the needs of a disabled family member.
Planning now will provide protection and peace of mind that you and your family deserve. Contact us today.