Did you know that 47% of people over age 85 are affected by Alzheimer’s disease? The numbers are high enough that any older person planning for their estate should consider the possibility that they may become intellectually incapacitated at some point.
Of course, a critical step in planning for incapacity is having a durable power of attorney document in place that allows someone to handle your financial affairs if you’re no longer able to do so.
It’s also critical to have a health care power of attorney or proxy form, so that someone you trust can manage your health care if you’re no longer able to provide informed consent. These two forms are essential components of a good estate plan.
But beyond the forms, as you get older it’s also wise to arrange your affairs so that someone else can easily step in if it becomes necessary. This might include consolidating and simplifying accounts, organizing your records, making lists of your assets and obligations, and generally having a conversation with children or other agents so they have some idea what to do if the need arises.
It’s understandable that many people are reluctant to plan for incapacity, but it will be much better for both you and your loved ones if they have a handle in advance on what needs to be done.