As people live longer and longer lives, the chances that you could one day experience age-related incapacity increase. Even if it is only for a short time in your very advanced age, most people will at some point lose the ability to think clearly and make decisions on their own behalf. While no one wants to go through an illness that affects the mind, like dementia, the reality is that many of us will. Planning for incapacity is a wise choice; the younger and healthier you are when you do it, the stronger your plan may be. The entire process of getting the documents you need to prepare for such an event does not take long, although you should think carefully about your choices. You have quite a bit to gain and nothing to lose by doing this important type of planning.
Reasons You Need an Incapacity Plan
You may have already seen an elderly family member go through age-related incapacity. For many people, watching a loved one struggle with age-related incapacity is what prompts them to make a plan of their own. Advantages of having this type of plan in place include:
Family harmony – Everyone has their own personal opinion about how end-of-life matters should be handled. Sadly, disagreements about these issues can tear a family apart when it should be banding together. Adult children may have relationship-altering disputes about whether their incapacitated mother with terminal cancer should be given life-prolonging treatments or moved to hospice to be kept comfortable. Incapacity planning lets you make these choices for yourself, so there will be no reason for your family to fight.
Keeping control – When you have become incapacitated, you will no longer be able to make any important decisions for yourself. However, there are a lot of choices you can make for future-you now. Planning keeps you in control over your own life and care even after you become incapacitated.
Wishes respected – Even if you talk openly with your family or care team about what you would want, there is no guarantee that in the moment, they will respect your decisions. Getting your wishes in a binding legal document means that everyone will be bound by your wishes.
Financial management – You can also appoint the person you would want to take over your financial affairs. By choosing someone who is good with money and who you genuinely trust, you greatly reduce your chances of experiencing financial abuse or the mishandling of your finances late in life.
Peace of mind – Planning now can give you some peace of mind, knowing that you will still be in control and have your wishes respected no matter what the future holds.
Taking this important step can protect you and your family in many ways.
Speak With a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney
A. Traub & Associates is committed to helping people take control of their futures by planning for incapacity. Many clients do their incapacity planning at the same time as their testamentary estate planning, so our experienced Wheaton estate planning lawyers would be happy to help you with both. Call us at 630-426-0196 for a free consultation.