Who will have the legal authority to make health care decisions for you?
If you can’t make your own health care decisions, you want to know who will step in and handle this on your behalf. Without the right approach to incapacity planning, there is no way of knowing for 100 percent who will have this responsibility.
Have you discussed your wishes regarding medical care?
It’s one thing to name a person to make health care decisions on your behalf. It’s another thing entirely to ensure that this person understands exactly what you want to happen. Here’s what we have to say about this: “A Proxy Declaration is a type of Advanced directive that lets you designate a “proxy” or “agent” who will make decisions about your health care, including decisions about life sustaining treatments, if you can no longer make them yourself because of incapacity.” Take your time when choosing your agent and deciding on the type of treatment you want to receive.
Who will take control of your assets and debts in the event of incapacity?
There is more to think about than your health. Who will pay your bills? Who will collect money that’s owed to you? Who will invest your money and manage your real estate? These are important questions to answer, as you don’t want your finances to spiral out of control while you’re incapacitated. With the right person in charge, you’ll know your debts and assets are being managed in the appropriate manner.
Who is in charge of making personal decisions on your behalf?
This goes above and beyond your health and finances. You need someone who will truly do what’s best for you, no matter what that may be. This person will make personal decisions on your behalf, such as where you will live.
When does it make sense to tackle the process of incapacity planning?
Just the same as estate planning, there is no right or wrong answer. However, sooner rather than later is a good start. Once you have your incapacity plan in place, you’ll feel much better about your current situation and what will happen in the future if you find yourself in this unenviable position.