People sometimes overlook incapacity planning because they feel as though it is not really important. They know that some elders become unable to make their own decisions, but they take the “this will never happen to me” approach.
You should certainly do everything possible to stay mentally and physically healthy. It is quite possible that you will be able to handle all of your own affairs every day of your life. However, people routinely take precautionary measures of various kinds, and this is a wise approach. As they say, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Incapacity planning should be looked upon in this light.
Though incapacity can seem like a remote possibility, the facts tell a different tale. Alzheimer’s disease alone is enough to make incapacity planning absolutely essential.
The widespread nature of this disease is quite attention-getting. Approximately 4 out of every 10 people who are at least 85 years of age are suffering from Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s disease are typically going to become unable to handle all of their own affairs at some point in time.
It is becoming increasingly likely that you will in fact live beyond the age of 85. According to information that was culled from the last round of census data, the segment of the population between the ages of 85 and 94 grew faster than any other ten-year age group between 2000 and 2010.
If you reach the age of 65, your life expectancy is beyond the age of 80.
Clearly, Alzheimer’s disease is a huge threat, but it is not the only cause of incapacity among elders. When you put all of these statistics together, you can see why incapacity planning is important.
Durable Powers of Attorney
The state could appoint a conservator to handle your affairs if you do not prepare for incapacity in advance. If you would like to take the matter into your own hands, you could execute legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney.
Durable powers of attorney are used because they do remain in effect if you become incapacitated.
With these documents you name a representative to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. You could execute a durable financial power of attorney to name a financial representative, and a health care power of attorney to name a health care decision maker.
If you have durable powers of attorney in place, there would be no need for a conservatorship proceeding.
Free Incapacity Planning Consultation
If you would like to discuss incapacity planning with a licensed estate planning attorney, we would be glad to assist you. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a message through this link to set up an appointment: Campbell CA Incapacity Planning.