The Law Office of Michael J. Kizis

Incapacity Planning

Unfortunately, many elders become unable to make sound decisions at some point in time. There are various different root causes, but Alzheimer’s disease is the leading culprit. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease strikes four out of every 10 people that are at least 85 years of age.

If you are thinking that you probably won’t live that long, the statistics would indicate otherwise. The life expectancy for a 68 year old man is 85, and for a woman of that age, it is 87. The

United States Census Bureau tells us that the segment of the population that was between 85 and 94 years old grew faster than any other between the years 2000 and 2010.

Durable Powers of Attorney and HIPPA Release Form

When you combine all of these facts, you can see why your estate plan should include incapacity planning documents. A durable power of attorney is a legal device that can allow you to name a person or entity of your choosing to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. The “durable” designation is quite relevant, because a standard power of attorney that is not durable would no longer be in effect if the grantor was to become incapacitated.

There are financial decisions that would present themselves, and medical decisions would also be part of the equation. To account for this, an incapacity plan will typically include a durable power of attorney for health care, and another durable power of attorney for financial matters. You could name the same person to act as your representative in both documents, or you could name two different respective attorneys-in-fact.

When it comes to the health care decision-making, a HIPPA release form should be added as well. Under federal laws, health care professionals cannot release medical records to anyone other than the patient unless this form has been executed.

Living Will

Another incapacity planning document that should be part of a well-constructed estate plan is a living will. With this type of will, you state your preferences regarding the utilization of life-sustaining measures like artificial respiration, nutrition, and hydration. When you have this document in place, you take this potentially heart-wrenching decision out of the hands of your loved ones.

Schedule a Consultation Today!

Action is required if you do not have an estate plan in place that includes a solid incapacity planning component. We would be glad to help, and you can schedule a consultation right now if you call us at 570-270-6524.

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