It is very important for anyone involved with estate planning to include a provision for a future situation wherein he may be rendered incapacitated. A car accident, serious illness, or fall during a hike can leave even a young person unable to make decisions for himself. Make sure to work with Bryan estate planning lawyers when planning your estate and including a provision for incapacity.
Incapacity and the Law
Incapacity is in certain ways a subjective matter; the point after which a person is no longer capable is difficult to ascertain. For legal purposes, basic capacity is distinguished from testamentary capacity. Basic capacity has to do with whether one is able to manage his own affairs. Testamentary capacity, on the other hand, involves knowing what consists of a person's estate. The latter requires a lower threshold of proof. For our purposes, then, incapacity has to do with the inability of a person to manage his own affairs, conduct business, and make decisions for himself.
Useful Tools for Incapacity Planning
As mentioned, anyone can be rendered incapacitated. Moreover, incapacitation is not always a permanent condition. There are a number of useful tools one can include in an estate plan that offer provisions for incapacity. These include:
- Durable Power of Attorney: This allows a named agent to make financial and business decisions for the person who has become incapacitated, referred to as the principal.
- Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates: This is also known as a living will, which provides instructions to the patient and family about the principal's desires regarding use of artificial means to keep him alive.
- Medical Power of Attorney: This gives authority to an individual to make medical decisions for the principal when he is either unconscious or mentally incapable of making medical decisions on his own. This authority does not extend to the use or removal of life support.
- Guardianship: This allows a named individual to act as the guardian to the principal if he becomes incompetent. One can have two guardians named: one for personal matters, and one for financial decisions.
For Further Information and Assistance
Incapacity planning is an essential part of creating a viable estate plan. Call the Bryan estate planning attorneys at Peterson Law Group, 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681, today to discuss the tools best suited to your needs.
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