Regardless of your age or circumstances, everyone should have an incapacity plan. The law allows capable adults to make decisions about what they want to happen to them should they lose their ability to communicate or make choices. This process, known as incapacity planning, involves creating a variety of tools that will record your wishes.
Even though your attorney will guide you through the process of creating an incapacity plan that complies with the relevant California and federal laws, there are some steps you have to take that are not necessarily addressed by the legal requirements. To help you create an incapacity plan that will be as good as you can make it, you will want to consider the following tips as you go about the process.
Incapacity Planning Tip 1: Do your homework.
When you go through the incapacity planning process, you and your attorney will create documents that address various legal issues. Many of these issues hinge upon not only legal terms, but also upon medical situations and issues. If you are not comfortable with your grasp of the terminology or concepts involved, you need to be willing to spend a little time to do some homework.
For example, talking to your doctor about what might happen to you should you one day become incapacitated is essential. Your doctor will not only be able to tell you what you might one day face, but will educate you about the medical options available to you, and what those might mean to you and your family.
Further, your lawyer will walk you through the terminology and legal issues that your incapacity plan will have to address.
Incapacity Planning Tip 2: Reflect on your beliefs.
Beyond the medical and legal issues involved, incapacity planning can cause us to reflect on some of our most deeply held beliefs and convictions. As you go through the process of learning more about incapacitation, you might have personal, religious, or ethical concerns about the issues involved. If you do, you should take the time to reflect on these issues until you are comfortable with your decision. If you need spiritual, personal, or professional guidance, you should allow yourself to take as much time as you need to resolve those questions.
Incapacity Planning Tip 3: Make practical representative choices.
Your incapacity plan will have you choose one or more representatives who will be able to represent your interests if you become incapacitated. These people might have to face some practical difficulties when managing your affairs, such as meeting with people who are located close to your location. Always choose representatives who will be able to meet all the requirements the positions requires, including any practical limitations that might arise.
When you work with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney, he or she can assist in deciding what types of powers of attorney are best for your situation.