No one can predict the future, which is why it is important to be prepared for any possible outcomes. While you may not like to think about it, this can include mental or physical incapacitation. There are two main reasons as to why you should have an incapacity plan in place: to make healthcare decisions and take care of financial matters. Without a plan, loved ones may need to go to court to settle these matters for you. If you wish to create a plan for your future, retain the services of an experienced California estate planning attorney today.
What Documents Do I Need?
It is important to know that an incapacity plan is not just one document. It has several different parts depending on your needs and desires. The following are various documents that should be included in an incapacity plan:
- Living Will: This document states what kind of healthcare you want to receive, or refuse to receive if you ever lose consciousness or capacity. It only applies if you are still alive but unable to make or communicate your own desires.
- Do Not Resuscitate Order: This document, also referred to as a DNR, states the conditions under which you refuse to accept resuscitative measures that are performed after your heart stops beating or you stop breathing.
- Health Care Power of Attorney: This document designates someone as having the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. This ensures your health care wishes are protected. These can be made to take effect immediately or only after you lose capacity.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: This document designates the individual you wish to have the legal authority to manage your financial matters if you are unable to do so yourself. This can also take effect immediately or upon your loss of capacity.
- HIPAA Release: A HIPAA release is a document that allows your physicians and health care providers to discuss your confidential medical details with relatives, friends, or others that you select. This ensures these individuals can receive information about your health and treatment while you are incapacitated.
- Revocable Living Trust: This document allows you to pass property to your beneficiaries without it having to go through the probate process. It can be used in incapacity planning, as you can choose a trustee to take over the management responsibilities of the trust when you cannot perform them yourself. This ensures the property within the trust will be taken care of during incapacitation.
What Happens if I Do Not Have a Plan?
If you become incapacitated without a plan, there is no set answer as to how your decisions will be made for you. Most cases call for a loved one to go to court in order to ask them to appoint a legal representative before any decisions can be made on your behalf. This does not only take time but costs money as well. Having a plan in place allows loved ones to know what your wishes are and how you can be represented properly.
Contact our Firm
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.