When someone gets hurt or sick and is incapacitated, family members or others must make decisions for this person. And if there is no plan in place to guide them through these decisions, conflicts and disputes could erupt and jeopardize relationships, not to mention the incapacitated party’s well-being.
Thus, planning for incapacity can be vital.
What should be part of my plan?
Two primary components of incapacity planning include healthcare and financial management.
When it comes to your health and well-being, you should have instructions detailing where you wish to receive care and what type of care you want and do not want. These documents include:
- A living will
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Do not resuscitate orders (if necessary)
- A HIPAA release
In terms of your financial care, planning documents to have may include:
- A durable power of attorney
- Revocable trusts
Having these components can ensure you get the care and support you need should you become incapacitated.
Who will take care of me?
One crucial thing to consider when creating these documents is who will be interpreting your wishes and carrying them out.
If you are married, your spouse will likely be the person making decisions on your behalf. Alternatively, you might name an adult child, sibling, parent or another trusted party to manage your care and personal needs.
These same parties could fill the financial roles, as well. Alternatively, you can choose to have a professional serve as a fiduciary. You might do this if you have substantial assets or you prefer to have a neutral party in that role.
Whoever you put in these roles should be familiar with your wishes and capable of making decisions that protect your best interests.
Having a plan you can rely on
No person wants to be in the position of being physically or mentally unable to take care of themselves. And hopefully, this never happens.
However, if it does, having a plan to guide others will be essential in making this difficult time easier for them — and you.