You have undoubtedly heard from friends and families about the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan in place; however, do you also know why an incapacity plan is important to include within your estate plan? To properly protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones it is just as important to have an incapacity plan in place as it is to have an estate plan.
For most people the purpose of an estate plan is twofold – to protect and provide for loved ones and to plan for the distribution of estate assets in the event of your death. While it is certainly crucial to have an estate plan in place that plan will do virtually nothing for you, your loved ones, or your assets in the event you become incapacitated instead of dying. Moreover, the odds of becoming incapacitated at some point in your life are likely much higher than you realize, making the need for an incapacity plan even greater as well. Statistically speaking you have about a 20 percent chance of experiencing a period of incapacity prior to reaching retirement age. Incapacity could be the result of a catastrophic car collision, a debilitating illness, or even a devastating workplace accident. Once you make it through your working years your odds of suffering incapacity increase to about 50 percent at age 65 and to 75 percent if you are still alive at age 85. In your later years the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s and other age related dementia diseases significantly increases your chance of become incapacitated.
Regardless of the reason, if you are incapacitated your Last Will and Testament will not be useful as the decisions you made in your Will only apply after your death. Questions such as “Who will manage my assets and take care of my estate?” or “How will my family survive financially” cannot be answered with estate planning strategies and tools unless those tools and strategies are part of an incapacity plan. A well thought out incapacity plan can ensure that the person of your choice controls your assets during your incapacity as well as ensure that the person of your choice makes healthcare related decisions for you should you be unable to make them for yourself. Without an incapacity plan in place you have no assurance that the people of your choice will be the ones making decisions and controlling assets during your incapacity. In short, you need an incapacity plan because it protects you and your assets should you ever be in a position where protection is needed.
If you have additional questions or concerns about incapacity planning or your Texas estate plan, contact the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. by calling 281-759-3213 to schedule your appointment today.