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August 27, 2019

Planning For Incapacity

Preparing for Incapacity

Summer 2019 Quarterly Newsletter

Author: Denis Curcio, CFP®

Read Time: 3 minutes


Planning for incapacity can be difficult and uncomfortable. The idea that you may become incapacitated for any reason is not pleasant. However, ignoring the possibility of incapacity will not make it go away. I find many families are unprepared to deal with a serious illness, particularly one that may cause declining mental and physical health. There are steps you can take now to help your family deal with the variety of issues that come with incapacity.


  1. Legal Documents – These can be split into two categories: healthcare and financial documents. Healthcare documents communicate the healthcare wishes of someone who may no longer be able to make decisions on his or her own. These include living wills, durable health care powers and do not resuscitate (DNR) orders. Financial documents communicate the financial management of assets while living and after death. These documents include wills, durable financial powers and living trusts. It is important to make clear who you would like to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Any financial powers should be shared with your advisor as soon as they are executed in order for action to be taken without delay in the event of sudden incapacity.


  1. Living Arrangements – Take time to discuss possible living arrangements and caretakers with your family. Are your current living arrangements suitable as you age? Does your family have a contingency plan should you require additional ongoing care? Do you have long-term care insurance and what type of care does it cover (home care, adult daycare, skilled nursing, memory care facilities)? Understand your options and develop a plan with your family to ease the transition in the event of incapacity.


  1. Health Care Plan – Do you have supplemental insurance through a previous employer or a separately funded policy? Understand what insurance coverages are in place and how those policies will coordinate with a potential escalation in care requirements. Additionally, make a list of current doctors and medications and give permission in advance to medical providers to speak with your family members.


Start discussions early and make your family aware of your wishes. Keep copies of your important documents in one place so they are easily accessible to family members should they need to reference them. Also, be sure to review these plans over time as family dynamics can change. Incapacity is always traumatic, but you can help your loved ones by mitigating confusion, emotional stress and pain through proper planning. If you are not sure where to begin, contact your advisor to help you through the planning process.


This article was featured in our Summer 2019 Quarterly Newsletter available here: 

Estate Planning, Healthcare

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