When we are in our younger years, we seldom give much thought to what happens as we age. Unfortunately, thousands of people every year suffer accidents or illnesses that leave them unable to care for themselves. Others suffer from age-related problems including Alzheimer’s disease and more. Too many of us are unprepared for the very real possibility of being incapacitated but there are some steps you can take to ensure you are cared for according to your specific wishes. Here are some of the things you can do to make sure your potential caregivers know your wishes.
Establishing Living Wills
While a physician’s directive is typically used when someone has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, a living will provides a detailed account of what medical care you wish to have as you age, become incapacitated or are unable to make your own decisions regarding your care. This document allows you the opportunity to lay out, in detail, exactly what measures you wish your health care professional to use in the event you are incapacitated.
Preparing a Medical Power of Attorney
Medical powers of attorney allow a designee to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so on your own. The decisions may be limited to seeking non-extraordinary care, choice of physicians or facilities or other restrictions as you determine. A medical power of attorney can be used in conjunction with physician’s directives if you wish.
Understanding Durable Powers of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows a person of your choosing to make financial decisions on your behalf. The person you select for this important role can write checks on your behalf, pay your expenses and is even allowed to make investment decisions on your behalf. You can limit what the designee is allowed to do; discuss your options with your estate planning attorney. A durable power of attorney may be rescinded at any time and becomes null and void if you are deceased.
Preparing for our eventual incapacity is intimidating as we all think that we will remain healthy and able to make our own decisions as we age. However, the reality is that too often, we neglect to inform our loved ones about these decisions and they often do not know how we feel about certain care as we age or are unable to care for ourselves. If you have not started your estate planning yet, this is a good time to consider planning for the possibility that you will be unable to care for yourself and put an incapacity plan in place as well. Contact The Law Office of Anne Marie Sibal at (864) 416-1332 and let us help you decide what estate and incapacity planning tools will best meet your specific needs.