Life is unpredictable, which can make it difficult to plan for the future. When it comes to estate planning, however, there are steps that we can take to help protect ourselves in the event of physical or mental incapacity. To learn more about putting a contingency plan in place to help protect your own interests, please call one of our dedicated Chicagoland estate planning lawyers today.
Executing Legal Documents
The kinds of steps that a person should take to protect his or her estate if deemed mentally or physically incapacitated, will depend in large part on the health, age, and financial status of the person involved. Long-term health care and disability insurance, for instance, are often a good defense for older individuals.
These policies can help insure against not only a loss of income but also the direct cost of assisted living. There are, however, a number of legal documents that can also prevent major problems down the road. While it may be uncomfortable, the time to execute these kinds of instruments is now, before a person needs them.
Establishing a Trust
Creating a revocable living trust to hold properties, business interests, investment accounts, and other assets has a number of benefits, one of which is the ability to name a contingent trustee who can step in and act on a person’s behalf. A contingent trustee could be a spouse, child, other relatives, or even a friend, professional, or a corporate trust company.
The trustor can dictate under what circumstances a trustee can step in and what powers that person will have to act on his or her behalf. In this way, a person can determine a number of details about his or her care in advance.
Appointing Power of Attorney
Assets that aren’t held in a trust can’t be managed by a trustee. In these cases, a person may want to consider granting someone power of attorney (POA) in the event of incapacity. A POA designation gives someone the power to act for another. Whether this involves granting a person broad legal authority over all aspects of a person’s life can be dictated by the principal, or the person granting POA.
Alternatively, a person could also grant someone limited powers over certain matters. A healthcare POA, for instance, only allows the designated individual to make decisions about the principal’s medical care.
Creating a Living Will
A living will is directed to medical professionals and indicates whether a person wishes to undergo death-delaying procedures in an end-of-life situation. These documents, unlike healthcare POAs, only apply if a person has a terminal condition or an incurable and irreversible condition in which death is imminent.
Testators can also execute Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs), as well as Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Orders (POLST) to provide directions regarding the use of ventilators and artificial nutrition as life-sustaining measures.
Set Up a Consultation Today With An Estate Planning Attorney In Chicago
To speak with one of our dedicated Chicagoland estate planning lawyers about what steps you can take to protect your estate in the event of incapacity, please call Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law at 847-325-5559 today. You can also set up a meeting with a member of our legal team by completing one of our brief online contact forms.