It is imperative to have an estate plan in place to avoid probate, save on taxes, and ensure that your assets are transferred according to your wishes. A plan should also include how your affairs will be handled if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself.
As we’ve seen in the recent news, a much-loved celebrity of this generation Bruce Willis was recently diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia, a disease that destroys the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. With roles in Armageddon, The Sixth Sense, and Die Hard to his credit, Willis’ diagnosis is especially heartbreaking. Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon.
It doesn’t matter what your age is, how healthy you are, or how close your family is to you, incapacity does not discriminate.
For individuals under 60, it is the most common form of dementia that affects those between the ages of 45 and 64. His diagnosis highlights the importance of planning for incapacity. Death is certain, but incapacity is not, which is why incapacity planning often takes a back seat to death planning. The uncertainty of this situation, however, makes planning for it all the more crucial.
Whether you suffer a temporary or permanent disability, incapacity planning aims to protect you and your family.
It doesn’t matter what your age is, how healthy you are, or how close your family is to you, incapacity does not discriminate. Often, it strikes without warning and without rhyme or reason. It is not known what causes frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but a family history of the disorder may increase your risk. Nevertheless, heredity is not absolute. Family members are left scrambling for solutions when incapacity occurs unexpectedly.
Who will manage your assets? Who will care for your children? Pay your bills? If you own a business, who will make the decisions with respect to day-to-day operations? Who will make medical decisions on your behalf? If you don’t have an incapacitation plan in place, you run the risk of having a court-ordered conservator as the one handling your affairs.
There is more to estate planning than just what happens after your death…
In case you become incapable of managing your own affairs during your lifetime, your estate plan must also anticipate that you may need legal assistance. As soon as a person becomes incapacitated, they are legally incapable of making financial, investment, or business decisions on their own. It is still necessary to pay bills, manage investments and properties, and file tax returns.
A person who is incapacitated is also unable to make their own healthcare decisions. Due to patient privacy laws, their loved ones may not be able to access medical information during a crisis situation and end up in court fighting over what treatment they should receive.
In the event the incapacitated individual failed to plan adequately for incapacity, the family may be forced to file a guardianship proceeding to declare the individual incompetent. By appointing a court-appointed guardian instead of an incapacity plan, a judge can take control of your assets and make personal and medical decisions for you. It is sometimes referred to as “living probate” because guardianship proceedings involve many of the same issues as probate, but with incapacity the loved one is alive.
The process of incapacitating someone is not just about the documents, although they are crucial.
It’s even more important that those documents contain precise, well-crafted instructions… which can only be provided by an experienced legal advisor. It is important to have estate planning in place which gives legal authority to someone you trust and allows them to step in when necessary. During this vulnerable time, we ensure that all of your documents work together to create a comprehensive incapacity plan that can actually function as intended. You and your loved ones will be taken care of by the trustworthy and experienced team at Sandoval Legacy Group.
The basic documents of an incapacity plan include:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- HIPAA authorization
- Advanced health care directive
- Revocable family trust
- Living will
Why choose Sandoval legacy Group?
- Serving Southern California, including San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties for over 30 combined years.
- Expert legal understanding of California estate and probate laws and processes
- Top-rated legal service for even the most complex matters
We will take the time to discuss your unique situation and how we can help protect you and your family with a thorough customized estate plan.
Contact Us For Personalized Estate Planning In Southern California
We know discussing end-of-life plans can be difficult, but we approach this delicate conversation with respect and dignity. Our estate planning services cover all areas of elder law & probate based on your specific financial & health situation. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, probate, special needs planning, elder or tax law, attorney Dennis M. Sandoval, and the Sandoval Legacy Group team is ready to assist you.
Southern California’s Premier Estate Planning Law Firm
With thirty-plus years of experience as an estate planning law firm in Southern California, you will have the best legal minds to guide you. The trusted estate planning lawyers at Sandoval Legacy Group, A division of Holstrom Block & Parke, A Professional Law Corporation, have offices located throughout Southern California in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties. If you have questions or concerns regarding your estate plan, elder or tax law, or probate, contact us or give us a call at (888) 502-2881 to schedule a free one-hour consultation.