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Should my estate plan include an incapacity plan?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | ESTATE PLANNING - Estate Administration & Probate

If you can answer yes to the question “Have you done your estate plan yet?” congratulations! Unfortunately, if you went through an online purveyor, you may not have a complete estate plan. Even if you went through a professional, you may still have one missing piece: an incapacity plan. And, for the 66% or so of adults that do not even have a will, read this as another reason to get an estate plan done ASAP.

Why do I need an incapacity plan?

The difference between your normal estate plan and an incapacity plan is that the incapacity plan is not planning for an eventuality (death). Instead, it is planning for the possibility that you will become incapacitated. In other words, you are planning for a time where you are not able to do all the things that you do every day. Your plan will help ensure that those things still get done.

What happens without an incapacity plan?

Do you pay all the bills? If so, then, the immediate issue for your family will be how to pay those bills. Does your wife or husband know who provides electricity and how to pay the electric bill? Do they know how to pay the mortgage or rent? If you were not there, do they even know how to access cash or payment methods? Do they even know who your life or health insurance is through? This can put why you need an incapacity plan into keen focus, immediately.

Though, even if they have all of this information. Do they know what you want if you are nearing the end, or your medical care wishes, like amputations, blood transfusions, organ donations, etc. If you are incapacitated, your spouse or family will be left wondering, and if you wake up, you will have to live with whatever they decided.

Do not forget to empower someone

While you may think your wife or husband already has the power to access your accounts and pay bills, unless they are specifically listed on those accounts, they may not be able to pay bills or withdraw funds. This is why you need a power of an attorney, which will empower whomever you want to act on your behalf, should you become incapacitated. This will be in addition to your healthcare proxy or living will for your medical and end-of-life wishes.