Planning for Incapacity

Planning for Incapacity is part of the estate planning process
  • The possibility of incapacity prior to death is significant.
  • While no one likes to contemplate being incapacitated, planning provides the opportunity to exercise a certain amount of control, and alleviate the burden of a spouse, children, relatives or friends at a difficult time.
  • A health care proxy (MA) or durable power of attorney for health care (NH) allows you to name your preferred person to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make decisions or communicate your wishes.
  • Such a document, also called an "Advance Directive", allows you to state your desires with respect to certain types of medical treatment (e.g. if you do not want certain types of treatment), and in the event of certain situations (e.g. when you are permanently unconcious or terminally ill). Your wishes can be incorporated in the health care proxy as guidance to your agent, or in a separate document ("living will") though a living will is not explicitly recognized in Massachusetts.
  • In addition to executing a health care proxy, it is important to review your wishes with your chosen agents so that they are aware prior to a critical moment. They will need to be your advocate when you are in a weakened state.
  • Along with a health care proxy, many clients execute a power of attorney, naming a spouse or trusted relative as their financial agent. The power of attorney can take immediate effect or can be drafted to take effect only upon your incapacity.
  • You can also nominate a preferred guardian in your power of attorney, in the event that the health care proxy and power of attorney are insufficient to cover your situation (e.g. in cases of dementia).
  • As part of the incapacity planning process, you may wish to speak with an insurance agent concerning disability insurance and long term care insurance.

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    For More Information:
    Law Offices of Jameson & Cooper
    8 Grove Street, Suite 205
    Wellesley, Massachusetts 02482
    Tel.: (781) 237-7766