Your estate plan should include incapacity planning.
Look, I get it.
You do not see the need for an estate plan.
Perhaps you do not have many assets.
Perhaps you do not have children or loved ones to benefit from your estate.
The unvarnished truth: you really could not care less who gets your money when you die.
Surely, you do not need an estate plan.
Au contraire, friend.
According to a recent Hometown Life article titled “Estate planning not just important in death,” you still have important estate planning to accomplish.
Estate planning deals with more than asset distribution.
It also involves what would happen if you became incapacitated.
Should that happen, you would be unable to make financial and health care decisions on your own.
What would happen then?
Well, would you prefer that a probate court judge (who likely does not know you or your loved ones) appoint an individual who may or may not have your best interests at heart to make these decisions?
[By the way, this "default" process to appoint your decision-makers via the judicial system, known as a guardianship and conservatorship, is expensive (it employs at a minimum three attorneys), will invade your privacy (your financials and medical condition become public record), and is chock full of red tape (it is a court process, after all).]
I would venture to guess the answer is no.
What can you do to ensure someone of your own choosing would make fundamental (some even life and death) decisions according to your expressed wishes?
This is where estate planning comes into the picture.
You should create a general durable power of attorney for financial decisions and another for medical decisions.
The latter should be the second page companion to your health care treatment directive so you can indicate your wishes regarding medical treatments you would want or would want to forego under various scenarios.
As you can see, estate planning is much more than one final gift distribution.
Discuss your wishes with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your goals are met and the process is simplified for those whom you would appoint.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Hometown Life (November 12, 2017) “Estate planning not just important in death”