Aging is a natural part of life, and to be frank there are some eventualities that go along with it that are not entirely pleasant. To mitigate the negative impact of the potential challenges that exist you need to plan carefully in advance. Doing this involves educating yourself and gaining an understanding of what may lie in wait so that you can take appropriate action to make sure that you are prepared.
Incapacity strikes many people who reach an advanced age. Sometimes it is mental, sometimes it is physical, and there are times when an individual will suffer from a combination of both.
A lot of people don’t realize just how likely it is that incapacity will strike at some point in time. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that around 40% of people age 85 and older suffer from the disease. Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and including other causes upwards of half of the oldest old are experiencing some degree of dementia. Of course dementia can render its victims incapable of making sound medical and financial decisions.
To protect yourself you can execute documents called durable powers of attorney. Most people are aware of the fact that powers of attorney are utilized to appoint a representative to act in your behalf in a legally binding fashion. The fact that these powers of attorney are “durable” allows them to remain in effect after the incapacitation of the grantor.
To plan for possible incapacity you could execute a durable financial power of attorney and a durable power of attorney for health care. If you want to appoint two different respective decision-makers for each type of decision you’re free to do that.
If you don’t execute these documents, interested parties could petition the court to appoint a guardian to act in your behalf. Clearly it is preferable to have representatives of your own choosing in place, and this is something that you should discuss with an elder law attorney if you have not done so already.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.