Your estate plan should ideally be looked upon as the culmination of a long-term financial plan. It is important to prepare for your active retirement years so that you can enjoy that stage of life, and there are also the twilight years that will follow.
During the latter portion of your life, incapacity becomes quite possible. There are those who suffer from physical incapacitation, and cognitive impairment can also be a factor.
Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of dementia. We have all heard of the disease, but many people are surprised to hear about its widespread nature. Upwards of 40 percent of people who are at least 85 are suffering from the disease according to research that has been cited by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Who will act on your behalf if you become unable to make sound decisions on your own? You can answer this question yourself when you execute a legally binding document called a durable power of attorney.
Choosing an Agent
The person who is bestowing the power is called the grantor or principal. The grantor selects an agent or attorney-in-fact to act on his or her behalf.
There are powers of attorney that are not specifically designated as durable. These powers would no longer be in effect upon the incapacitation of the grantor. Durable powers of attorney do remain active even if the grantor becomes incapacitated.
When you are selecting an agent to act under a durable power of attorney, you do not have to worry about any particular legal requirements for the most part. The agent must be an adult, but you are certainly not going to choose a child to act as your agent. Of course, the agent must be of sound mind.
The individual that you choose as an agent must be willing to act in this capacity, so you should certainly discuss the matter with your nominee in advance.
There are some practical considerations that you should keep in mind when you are choosing an agent to act on your behalf. Your power of attorney should be in place when you are still a relatively young adult. Given this reality, you should consider the longevity of the agent.
Geography is another factor. The agent should ideally live nearby so that he or she can easily act on your behalf on an ongoing basis.
Free Incapacity Planning Consultation
If you do not select your own representative in advance, the state could be petitioned to appoint a conservator to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. The person that is chosen by the court may not be someone that you would have chosen yourself.
We would be glad to assist you if you would like to put an incapacity plan in place. To set up a free consultation, send us a message through our contact page.