A comprehensive estate plan should do far more than simply provide a roadmap for the distribution of your estate assets after your death. Components such as tax and probate avoidance, special needs planning, or retirement planning can easily be included into your estate plan to provide a more well-rounded and inclusive plan. Another component to consider adding into your estate plan is incapacity planning. Too understand why incapacity planning should be included in your estate plan it helps to understand what often happens without an incapacity plan.
People typically envision an elderly individual who is suffering from Alzheimer’s when they hear the word “incapacitated”; however, incapacity can strike anyone at any time. A tragic workplace accident, a terminal disease, or a catastrophic collision could cause you to become incapacitated tomorrow. If that were to happen, who would take care of your home? Who would take over control and management of other assets owned by you? Who would make critical medical treatment decisions for you while you are unable to make them yourself? In the absence of an incapacity planning that answers all of these questions a court will be forced to appoint people to take care of your assets and to make decisions for you.
In order to manage your assets, an individual must have the proper legal authority. If you did not provide that authority prior to your incapacity, only a court can grant it. Typically, someone will petition a court to become your guardian and/or conservator. Often, more than one person will petition the court, frequently resulting in a court battle over control of your assets and/or the right to make decisions for you. Not only will that court battle cause irreparable harm to your family but it may be time consuming and costly. Moreover, at the end of the process the person, or persons, the court appoints may not be who you would have wanted to make decisions for you or to control your assets. By failing to include an incapacity plan in your overall estate plan, however, you gave up the right to decide who will make decisions for you and who will control your assets.
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.