You should consider possible incapacity when you are planning your estate. If you do nothing to prepare for this contingency, the state could ultimately appoint a conservator to manage your affairs if you do become incapacitated. On the other hand, you could proactively avoid this fate if you were to execute legal documents called durable powers of attorney.
A durable power of attorney (POA) is used for incapacity planning purposes because this specific type of POA would remain in effect if the grantor of the device was to become incapacitated. If a power of attorney is not durable, it would cease to be effective upon the incapacitation of the grantor.
The representative that you name to act on your behalf in a durable power of attorney is called the agent or attorney-in-fact. Because the representative is sometimes called the attorney-in-fact, some people think that the agent must be a lawyer.
In fact, this is not the case. Any adult who is of sound mind who is willing to take on the role can act as an agent under a durable power of attorney.
People typically execute two different powers of attorney when they are preparing for possible incapacity. You could create a durable financial power of attorney to name a sound money manager to act as your financial representative.
A durable power of attorney for health care could also be included. With this document, you name an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
You could name two different agents if this is your choice, but the same person could be named to make both types of decisions on your behalf.
Importance of Incapacity Planning
Incapacity planning can seem like an unnecessary exercise, but in fact, a very significant percentage of elders become unable to handle their own affairs eventually. Once you reach the age of 65, your life expectancy is over 80 years. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that 45 percent of people who are 85 years of age and older are Alzheimer’s sufferers.
This is a very attention-getting figure, and there are other causes of incapacity. When you soberly consider these statistics, you can see why incapacity planning is relevant to all of us.
Schedule a Consultation
We can help if you would like to embed an incapacity plan within a broader, comprehensive estate plan. Our firm would be glad to answer your questions, get to know you, and help you create a holistic plan for aging.
To set up an appointment, send us a brief message through our contact page: Sacramento CA Estate Planning Attorneys.