No One Knows The Time Or Hour…Incapacity Planning.
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven” Matthew 24:36
The first thing to discuss is how to prepare for even a temporary incapacity, like creating documents to allow another to care for children and pets if you have a long stay in the hospital. You may also want someone to take over paying bills and have someone secure firearms and other tangible property in your home that might be stolen. You may even need to have someone clean out perishable food in the refrigerator.
Further, in this digital age, you will need to set up who can access your data if you are incapacitated, and provide passwords and usernames. The document to give someone the authority to act on your behalf is a durable power of attorney. This appointment of an agent to act on your behalf can be a general power or a limited power.
The second thing to do is to tell people what you would like to have done. This can be in the form of a letter, but to make your wishes legally binding it will need to be in the form of a will or a trust. Some things you can decide for yourself, such as funeral arrangements with a prepaid funeral contract. Make sure that these and other documents are held in a secure place and where someone can access them in an emergency. Here is a quick Estate Planning Document Checklist:
Durable Power of Attorney
Health Care Proxy
Declaration of Homestead
Beneficiary Designation Forms
In addition, you should discuss how decisions are too be made, and by whom, if you are incapacitated – even going as far as a written procedure for friends and family. Also, make a detailed outline of your wealth trasnfer wishes and then review your documents – do your documents match you estate planning desires? If so, are your assets are titled correctly and have you set up the appropriate beneficiary designation forms? If not, then consider revision of those documents. Finally, make sure current copies of those documents go to the correct people. No One Knows The Time Or Hour…Incapacity Planning.
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