Planning for the future starts in the present.
The time to plan for the unexpected and difficult is now. Whether you are a single adult, a single parent, parents with minor children, an unmarried committed couple, a grandparent raising a grandchild, or a retired couple, whatever your circumstances, it is best to be prepared for what life may bring. A comprehensive will or trust plan is a fabulous tool to defend yourself and your family against the unexpected and to anticipate “the next steps”.
Every adult should have a will or trust plan. You don’t have to be “super rich” to benefit from estate planning because it encompasses asset management in life AND death, as well as giving you and your family tools to handle potential medical issues and mental incapacity. Mental incapacity can result from any number of unexpected events and at any age.
Know what your options and choices are so you can make informed decisions based on your circumstances. The decision is yours.
You may not think you need a will or a trust because you don’t have a spouse or children. But, consider who will make your healthcare and financial decisions if you are unable? You get to decide who you want those people to be. You get to direct how you want to be cared for in the event that you are unable to make your wishes known at the time.
Who will your children live with either temporarily or permanently if you are unable to care for them? How can you make your wishes known to assist when there may be multiple people wanting to care for your kids? You can clarify your wishes for your children by choosing those guardians yourselves.
Are you prepared for temporary inability to manage your finances? Do the people that love you have the access to needed records? Have you expressed your wishes concerning medical treatment and/or last
wishes? You have the ability to do that now: get your affairs in order, make sure your important documents are current, and identify what and where your assets are.
Do you have an adult child with substance abuse issues where a trust may be the better solution to either outright distribution or disinheriting that person? Are you a grandparent caring for a minor child on a permanent basis? Are you a “blended family” with children from prior relationships and interested in protecting the inheritances of all?
The prospect that there may come a day when we are unable to care for ourselves either financially or physically is discouraging at best; however, ignoring it is not going to make that prospect any less possible and will relinquish the control we do have over that situation to someone else. We can make decisions now, which may positively impact our situation in the future.
Anticipating this possibility and planning for it may make a difficult situation better for yourself as well as for your family and loved ones.
An incapacity plan anticipates what you would like to have happen should you loose the ability make decisions and express your choices concerning your finances, health care decisions, and personal care. A good plan will employ a variety of tools within our current legal environment to make sure your wishes are known and that the people entrusted with your care have access to necessary resources to carry out your wishes.