Incapacity planning is one of the most important parts of estate planning. Estate planners should know what they should include to ensure they are protected if they are incapacitated.
Estate planning is not only intended to help with what happens to the estate planner’s property and assets after they die but also is a plan for what happens if the estate planner becomes incapacitated. Documents that estate planners should consider to plan for incapacity include:
- A medical power of attorney: A medical power of attorney gives the designated agent the authority to make medical decisions for the estate planner.
- A living will: A living will gives the designated agent the authority to make life-sustaining or life-ending decisions for the estate planner if they become incapacitated.
- A HIPAA authorization: The HIPAA authorization is a written document that gives the estate planner’s doctor or health care provider the authority disclosed the estate planner’s medical information.
- A financial power of attorney: A financial power of attorney gives the designated agent the authority to manage the estate planner’s financial affairs including paying their bills, making financial decisions, managing investments, selling and mortgaging real estate and filing tax returns.
There are several components of an estate plan including a will, a trust and an incapacity plan. A trust can also be used in an incapacity plan. There are many important reasons to prioritize estate planning and having an incapacity plan is one of them. For that reason, it is helpful for estate planners to know what documents they should include when developing theirs.