Like most people, you likely associated the term “incapacity” with Alzheimer’s or other old-age related dementia diseases. While dementia certainly does render one incapacitated eventually, the reality is that a workplace accident, catastrophic car crash, or debilitating illness could leave you incapacitated tomorrow. If that happens, who will make life and death medical decisions for you? Who will manage your assets? Who will make day to day decisions for you? At the Charleston, South Carolina law firm of Kuhn & Kuhn we know how difficult it is to imagine, much less plan for, your own incapacity. Doing so, however, ensures that your wishes will be honored should incapacity actually strike at any point in your life. Contact the Lowcountry law firm of Kuhn & Kuhn by calling 843-577-3700 or by using our online contact form to get started with your incapacity plan.
Why Do I Need an Incapacity Plan?
Although you may not know it, you stand a one in five chance of being incapacitated as a result of injury or illness prior to reaching retirement age. Going into your golden years those odds increase to one in two and by age 85 jump to three in four. The need to plan for the possibility of your own incapacity can be illustrated by a simple hypothetical. Imagine that you are involved in a serious car accident tomorrow that causes you to fall into a coma. Ask yourself the following questions and consider the possible answers:
- Who would make healthcare decisions for you? If you are married this would likely be your spouse; however, if you are not married it could be a parent, adult child, or just about anyone else. If you have a partner but you are not legally married your partner would likely be left out entirely. Ultimately, a court might have to decide after a lengthy and costly legal battle that could cause a permanent rift in your family.
- Who would have the authority to manage your finances and protect your assets? Again, if you are married your spouse might have the authority but that depends on numerous factors. Not married? A court might have to appoint someone as the conservator of your estate. Anyone can petition the court, meaning you have absolutely no say in who will be given the legal authority to control your assets.
How Can an Incapacity Plan Help?
An incapacity plan allows you to make important decisions now that will dictate who controls your assets, who makes day to day decisions for you, and who has the authority to authorize medical treatment for you should you become incapacitated at any point in your life. A Health Care Power of Attorney, for example, allows you to appoint an agent who will have the legal authority to make critical healthcare decisions for you during your incapacity. A revocable living trust is often used to quickly and easily shift control of assets from you to the person of your choosing should you become incapacitated. Incapacity planning tools and strategies ensure that you make these decisions now instead of a court making them later.
Incapacity can strike tomorrow, making it even more important that you plan today. The South Carolina estate planning attorneys at the law firm of Kuhn & Kuhn are committed to helping you incorporate an incapacity plan into your comprehensive estate plan to ensure that your wishes are honored by both your loved ones and the law should the need arise. Contact the Incapacity Planning Attorneys of the law firm of Kuhn & Kuhn by calling 843-577-3700 or by using our online contact form today to schedule your consultation so that we can get started on your plan.