Estate planning can seem like something that is strictly financial in nature, but this is not entirely true. You do want to facilitate timely asset transfers to your loved ones, but you should also consider latter life issues.
Incapacity planning is an important piece of the puzzle. Let’s look at the facts.
Incapacitation Among Elders
To be optimally prepared, you should take a sober minded approach to potentially unpleasant circumstances. The stark reality is that a high percentage of senior citizens become unable to handle all of their own affairs at some point in time.
When you examine longevity statistics, you see that people are living longer lives. Once you reach the age of 65, it is likely that you will live into your eighties. Census statistics indicate that the segment of the population that was between 85 and 94 years of age grew faster than any other group between the years 2000 and 2010.
It is very possible that you will live into your eighties and perhaps beyond when you digest the statistics.
Elders become incapacitated due to a number of different causes, but Alzheimer’s disease is the leading culprit. Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and people who are suffering from dementia are typically going to become unable to make sound decisions on their own.
About 13 percent of all senior citizens are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This is not an insignificant figure, but it rises as you get older. Somewhere in the vicinity of 45 percent of people who are at least 85 years of age have contracted Alzheimer’s disease.
Who would handle your affairs if you were to become unable to make your own choices? The answer to this question is essentially in your own hands.
If you do nothing, interested parties could petition the state to appoint a guardian to manage your affairs in the event of your incapacitation. You would not be able to control the actions of the court.
To prevent a guardianship, you could be proactive. Incapacity planning typically involves the execution of a legally binding document called a durable power of attorney. When you create a durable financial power of attorney, you are empowering an agent or attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated at some point in time.
To account for health care decision-making, you could execute a health care proxy. The representative that you choose would be able to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
Free Incapacity Planning Consultation
Incapacity planning is a must for all responsible adults. If you would like to put a plan in place, contact us through this link to schedule a free consultation: Smithtown NY Incapacity Planning.