Preparing For Possible Incapacity

There is a Catch-22 involved in planning for incapacity, and it is actually difficult to discuss because the subject is so sensitive. Let’s start by pointing out the fact that people are living longer than ever, and the “oldest old,” people 85-years-old and up, are the fastest growing segment of the population. So when you are looking toward the future it is logical to expect that with each passing day, as medical capabilities advance, it is more likely that you will live past the age of 85.

Now to get into the sensitive part. Statistics indicate that more that half of the people in the United States who are over the age of 85 suffer from some degree of dementia. As you start to slip into a state of diminished mental capabilities, you are going to be less likely to recognize it. So you may be resistant to well meaning family members who try to help. This could result in one or more of them petitioning the court to appoint a guardian and/or conservator to manage your personal and financial affairs. If this was to take place you would have no control over who these people or entities would be.

This possibility can be circumvented if you take the correct incapacity planning steps. What you can do is appoint people of your choosing to act in your behalf through the execution of durable powers of attorney. You can execute a durable medical power of attorney and select someone that you would like to empower to make health care decisions in your behalf.

You would also want to use a durable financial power of attorney to appoint a financial representative. In this manner all of your bases are covered. Trusted family members or friends that you personally select will be handling your affairs and you can rest easy knowing that the decision making power has been placed in the right hands.

About Ronald Morton

Ronald Morton is a Certified Elder Law Attorney practicing in the areas of wills, trusts, estate planning, probate and estate administration, asset protection planning, Medicaid planning, and Veterans benefits law throughout Mississippi.

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