Aging and the end of life can be difficult topics but legal tools are available to help estate planners and families prepare for incapacity. Estate planners and families helping their loved ones prepare for incapacity should be familiar with the different legal options to help plan for incapacity.

Legal resources can help prepare for incapacity including:

  • Advance healthcare directive: an advance healthcare directive, sometimes referred to as a living will, can help estate planners and loved ones prepare for circumstances when the estate planner is unable to direct their own healthcare and medical care due to incapacity. An advance healthcare directive can be used to designate a trusted individual or loved one to make healthcare decisions for the estate planner, according to their wishes, when they are unable to do so for themselves. The advance healthcare directive can specify what types of medical care and treatment the estate planner wishes to receive.
  • Power of attorney: a power of attorney can be used similarly to an advance healthcare directive but for the estate planner’s financial affairs. A power of attorney can be used to designate a trusted individual or loved one who can make financial decisions for the estate planner when they are unable to do so for themselves due to incapacity.

Estate planning and long-term care planning are critical for everyone. It is essential to make an estate plan and to account for the long-term care and wishes of the estate planner.

Legal estate planning tools such as an advance healthcare directive or power of attorney can help estate planners prepare for incapacity which can remove the burden from family members and loved ones during a difficult time and also provide the estate planner with much-needed peace of mind that they will be cared for and their wishes will be honored.