The importance of planning for incapacity cannot be overstated. Planning for incapacity in advance can be helpful for estate planners and their loved ones if the estate planner becomes incapacitated at some point.

Incapacity can make it difficult, or impossible, for the estate planner to direct their medical care and treatment of financial affairs. Several different estate planning documents can help the estate planner prepare for incapacity. Having a durable power of attorney for the estate planner’s financial affairs can designate a trusted individual to make financial decisions for the estate planner while they are incapacitated and direct their financial affairs for them.

A plan for incapacity should also include a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Like a durable power of attorney for financial affairs can help with the estate planner’s financial affairs, a durable power of attorney for medical care can designate a trusted individual to direct the estate planner’s medical care and treatment. Estate planners should also have an advance healthcare directive which specifies the medical care and treatment they wish to receive or do not want to receive. Through a healthcare power of attorney, the designated individual can also direct the estate planner’s medical care if aspects of it are not addressed in the advance healthcare directive.

A comprehensive plan for incapacity can provide comfort and peace of mind for estate planners and their loved ones. It can help family members to know the wishes of their loved ones, such as concerning resuscitation, during a difficult time which is why it is valuable to have a plan for incapacity as part of an estate plan.