From Letters to My Clients: Incapacity Planning
Updated: Apr 15, 2018
You recently told me that you are procrastinating with getting your last will and testament taken care of because you don’t like to think about your death. I want to encourage you to get your will done anyway, along with your power of attorney and health care directive. Here’s why.
Estate plans include planning for health problems and incapacity. Whether your estate plan is trust-based or will-based, it should provide incapacity planning. In your durable power of attorney and health care directive (and in your trust if your estate plan is based on a trust), you will choose someone to make decisions for you in the event of your incapacity, even if your incapacity is only temporary.
A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint another person to act for you should you become incapacitated. Connecticut adopted a new Power of Attorney Form in 2016. Changes to the Connecticut Uniform Power of Attorney Act are designed to make Powers of Attorney easier to use. One provision requires banks and other financial institutions to honor a Power of Attorney.
A Health Care Directive (Appointment of Health Care Representative) allows you to appoint another person to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. For this reason, it is sometimes called a “health care power of attorney.”
Without an estate plan, a probate court will have to conduct conservatorship proceedings to appoint someone to handle your affairs and make your health-care decisions in the case you become incapacitated. This results in needless costs, delays, and aggravation to your family.
So stop procrastinating. Estate planning isn’t just about death. Having your power of attorney and health care directive in place will ensure that your loved ones will be able to respect your wishes, manage your affairs, and care for you in the case of your incapacity.