How to Plan for Incapacity in Your Will and Trust

Part of the Wills & Trusts Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet

It’s not easy to think about, but your will and trust(s) need to include provisions that go into effect if you become incapacitated for any reason. Your executor and your heirs will be grateful for your forethought. Keep in mind the following points about planning for incapacity:

  • If you don’t create a plan for your incapacity, a court may appoint somebody to oversee your personal and financial needs. By planning for incapacity, you can choose the people who will help you, provide them with guidance as to your wishes, impose limits on their powers, or grant them powers beyond what a court may allow.

  • Your durable power of attorney designates the person who can assist you with your financial affairs or manage them on your behalf.

  • Your healthcare proxy appoints the person who will assist you with decisions concerning your medical care or make those decisions for you consistent with your instructions.

  • You can provide within your living trust for your trustee to gain immediately authority over your trust assets if you become incapacitated.

  • Your living will provides guidance to your family and doctors as to the type of treatment you want during the final days of your life.

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