Degenerative neurological conditions, traumatic brain injuries, and other medical conditions can all damage your mental faculties. You hope that this will never happen, but if it does, you may no longer have the capacity to make your own decisions regarding health care and finances. So, how does one go about incapacity planning?
It is a good idea to anticipate the possibility of incapacitation and prepare for it as part of your estate plan. The following designations and documents can allow you to express what you want to happen should an unfortunate circumstance occur.
What is Included in Incapacity Planning?
Living Will or Advance Directive
A living will is a legal document that allows you to outline the treatments you wish to receive if you can ever make your own health care decisions due to incapacitation. Another name for it is an advance health care directive. It also allows you to exclude treatments you do not want to receive. This can be very helpful if you do not want the doctors to keep you alive if there is no hope of recovery. Doctors have an ethical obligation to honor the wishes you have expressed in your living will.
Health Care Proxy
While a living will can be very valuable, you can’t anticipate every possible scenario that could arise during the course of your health care. Therefore, it is also helpful to name a health care proxy. This person has the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. However, even a health care proxy cannot override a simple will.
Albany Estate Planning Lawyers
Most American adults do not have plans for incapacitation in place. However, it is a good idea for you to create one as soon as possible because incapacitation can strike without warning. Our experienced Albany estate planning attorneys can help.