Incapacity can occur temporarily or permanently if you suffer an illness or an injury. Unfortunately, if you become incapacitated, this can create substantial complications and tough choices for your family members if you haven’t planned ahead. You must ensure that you have made advanced plans in case of incapacity so you and the people you care about will be protected.
Collins Law Group can provide invaluable assistance with the incapacity planning process. We can help you to address important issues like what kinds of medical care you wish to receive, how to pay for nursing home care, and who will manage your assets if you cannot. Give us a call for personalized advice from a Los Angeles incapacity planning lawyer and to get answers to important questions including:
- What is involved in incapacity planning?
- Why is incapacity planning so important?
- How can a Los Angeles incapacity planning lawyer help you?
What is Involved in Incapacity Planning?
Incapacity planning involves thinking about what will happen to you if you suffer the fate that no one wants to experience. If you become sick or hurt and cannot communicate your preferences for medical care or make decisions on your own behalf, you must think about what happens next. You cannot make or express your preferences in this situation, so you want to create a plan in advance. Making an incapacity plan makes it possible to maintain the maximum level of autonomy, even when you are no longer an advocate for yourself, since you’ll have chosen the people who act for you.
There are many different steps which could be taken to make your incapacity plan, depending upon your situation and the level of control desired. Some of the commonly used legal tools that can be helpful in the incapacity planning process include:
- A power of attorney. When you create a power of attorney, someone is named by you to act on your behalf if you cannot act of your own accord. The power of attorney should be a durable one to ensure it remains in effect when incapacity occurs.
- Advanced healthcare directives. Advanced directives give you the power to make decisions while you’re of sound mind regarding whether you want specific types of medical care or not. If you don’t want a feeding tube or other extraordinary measures taken to keep you alive, you can specify your preferences in advance so doctors will know what to do and not do. You can also determine who should make health decisions on your behalf in case a question about care arises that you haven’t addressed in advance.
- A trust. There are different kinds of trusts, so you can work with an incapacity planning lawyer to find out which is best. A revocable trust could allow for a backup trustee to begin management of trust assets immediately when needed due to incapacity. Revocable trusts make it possible for the trust creator (settlor) to maintain control until incapacity. Irrevocable trusts provide a different type of protection, including in some cases making it possible to protect assets while Medicaid pays the bills for nursing home care.
These are just some of the possible tools you may wish to use so you are prepared and ready in case of incapacity. No one wants to think about getting hurt or sick and becoming unable to advocate for themselves, but this unfortunate reality happens far too often. When you make a plan, at least you get to name surrogates who can protect you, your assets, and your loved ones.
Why is Incapacity Planning so Important?
Incapacity planning is important because it lets you hold on to as much control as possible for as long as possible. No one knows your wishes and goals better than you, so you should make clear what your preferences are on life-and-death issues. It also lets you choose a trusted person who can manage your assets if you become unable to. Whether you own investments or have a family business to pass down, your incapacity plan allows you to ensure your money and property is being used as you see fit.
You can also help your loved ones when you think ahead with incapacity planning. They can be spared the pain of having to “pull the plug” on life-saving machines. Your family wont’t have to go to court and initiate guardianship proceedings, and will avoid stress, hassle, and unnecessary cost.
How can a Los Angeles Incapacity Planning Lawyer Help You?
The Collins Law Group offers invaluable assistance with the incapacity planning process to clients in the greater Los Angeles area. Contact us today to find out more about the ways in which we can help you be prepared in case illness or injury leave you unable to act on your own.