Becoming incapacitated at some point may not be pleasant to think about but it is a possibility estate planners should consider and plan for. Fortunately, estate planning tools include tools to plan for incapacity.

One of the most helpful estate planning tools to prepare for incapacity includes an advance healthcare directive. Advance healthcare directives can outline the types of medical care and treatment the estate planner wishes to receive if they are incapacitated at some point. It can also outline the medical care and treatment they do not wish to receive such as resuscitation should it be needed or ongoing life support treatment and care.

In addition to an advance healthcare directive, a durable power of attorney for healthcare can also be helpful and can be used on its own or to compliment an advance healthcare directive. A durable power of attorney appoints a trusted individual to handle the estate planner’s medical care and treatment if they are incapacitated and cannot do it for themselves. Another useful document to have as part of an estate plan to prepare for incapacity is a durable power of attorney for financial affairs. A durable power of attorney for financial affairs appoints a trusted individual to handle the estate planner’s financial affairs if they are incapacitated and cannot handle their financial affairs on their own.

Estate planning helps estate planners prepare for a difficult time and also plan for uncertainties that can leave family members facing emotional decisions during an already challenging time. Including a plan for incapacity in an estate plan can provide valuable peace of mind for family members and the estate planner as well.