If you’re like most people, you probably have a number of different financial plans. You likely have a plan to save for retirement and maybe one to deal with unexpected emergencies. Maybe you have a plan for health care issues or even long-term care. Perhaps you have an estate plan to manage your assets after your death.
But do you have a plan for incapacitation? Incapacitation is the inability to make or communicate your own decisions. It’s often caused by cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s, but people also become incapacitated because of strokes, cancer or other conditions.
Incapacitation may not seem like an obvious planning need, but it’s too important to ignore. Without an incapacitation plan, you and your family could face legal and financial challenges. You may have people making decisions on your behalf whose wishes don’t necessarily align with your own.
Below are a few different costs and consequences that can come from incapacitation if you don’t have a plan in place. Incapacitation may not be a likely scenario, but it is possible, especially if you’re entering retirement. Now may be the time to develop a strategy.
One of the biggest challenges with incapacitation is that you’re unable to manage your finances. After all, the bills don’t stop just because you’re struggling with medical problems. If you’re married, your spouse will likely be able to handle bill payments, investment management and more. However, he or she could have trouble with accounts that are only in your name.
If you’re not married, there could be more complicated issues. A grown child or other family member may need to manage your bills and income. You may not want that person delving into your financial affairs. It’s also possible that the person may be someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
You can minimize these risks in a number of ways. One is to utilize joint accounts whenever possible, especially if you’re married. At a minimum, keep your spouse informed about your various accounts, bills and income sources.
You also could put certain assets in a living trust. You’d name yourself as trustee and another person as successor trustee. If you ever become incapacitated, your successor trustee takes over management of the trust assets.
There could also be legal ramifications to your incapacitation. Even if you’re covered by health insurance, many insurers may not agree to coverage for certain procedures without consent from the primary party. Obviously, if you’re incapacitated, you can’t provide consent or guidance.
In that case, the insurer may wish for someone to become your guardian or power of attorney. That usually requires legal documents, court hearings and more. It can be especially complex if your family can’t agree on who should fill that role.
Again, you can eliminate this confusion with a little advanced planning. A power of attorney is a document that designates another individual as your decision-maker in the event you become incapacitated. That way you know who is making decisions on your behalf, and you can communicate your wishes to that person.
The personal impact of incapacitation may be the most significant cost. Incapacitation is usually a traumatic time for a family. Your loved ones may be struggling with the emotions around the situation, along with the logistics, costs and more.It’s possible that your family members may not agree on the best course of treatment or how your finances should be managed. Multiple people may feel that they should be in charge. Because the issue is already emotional, it’s not difficult for these conflicts to become heated.
Probably the last thing you want is for your loved ones to fight or argue because of your health issues. Incapacitation planning can minimize this risk and provide clear instructions to your loved ones. That way they can spend less time arguing about decisions and more time supporting you and one another.
Ready to develop your incapacitation plan? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Crescent City Retirement. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.
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