Planning your estate is something that should be highly important to Illinois residents. Part of your planning should include preparing for incapacity. Because everything in life is uncertain, it’s better to be prepared just in case you are unable to make decisions and manage your affairs on your own.
Why should you prepare for incapacity?
When you go through the process of estate planning, it’s important to keep in mind that there might be a time when you are no longer able to make decisions about your healthcare or financial matters. This is where preparing for incapacity comes in: it gives you the opportunity to prepare ahead of time in the event that you are seriously injured or suffer a debilitating illness and can no longer make decisions for yourself.
If you don’t include provisions for your potential incapacity, the court could choose a guardian for you. This person would act on your behalf to manage your financial affairs and make medical decisions for your care. However, if you prepare for incapacity early on, you will have your own wishes carried out and have the person you want appointed to carry them out.
What do you need to prepare for incapacity?
While you begin the estate planning process, there are certain documents you will need to prepare for incapacity. These documents discuss who you want to appoint to handle things for you and what they should do to carry out your wishes. They include the following:
- Durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney allows you to choose who will be making financial decisions on your behalf. The person you appoint will manage all of your financial affairs by paying bills, paying for repairs in your home and so forth.
- Durable healthcare power of attorney: A durable healthcare power of attorney allows you to appoint a trusted person who will make all decisions about your medical care. This person will also get information regarding your health per HIPAA laws.
- Healthcare directive: A healthcare directive is also known as a living will. It is a document that allows you to discuss all of your wishes for your medical treatment for end-of-life care. For example, it lets you determine whether you want resuscitating efforts performed or if you prefer a do not resuscitate or DNR order.
You may also want to consider include a revocable trust in your estate planning. It can be useful for the continuous management of your financial matters and assets.