Want Peace of Mind? Plan Ahead for Potential Incapacity

Beth Misak |

By Paul Hynes, CFP®
July 2018

One of the most emotional and delicate issues that can arise is mental incapacity—being unable to make one’s own decisions. Personal decisions can range from the mundane, such as what to wear or eat, to the life-altering, such as personal finances, and options for medical treatment or housing. If you are like most people, you haven’t created an incapacity plan. But planning ahead provides you with the best opportunity to protect yourself and your loved ones.

This is not something to take lightly or delay indefinitely. Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a growing epidemic, with more than 5.7 million Americans currently affected. Barring a medical breakthrough, it is highly likely that you or someone you care about will be impacted by this devastating disease.

Here are three steps to help you prepare:

First, assemble a team of trusted advisors who are aware of your wishes and who can be a valuable resource to your family. This might include an estate planning attorney, CPA, financial advisor, and insurance specialist.

Second, meet with an estate planning attorney to put in place the necessary documents (a trust, powers of attorney for financial and healthcare decisions, advanced healthcare directive, etc.) to give legal authority to someone you trust to act on your behalf when you are unable.

Third, become familiar with community resources such as Alzheimer’s San Diego. This valuable organization provides free programs and support for the nearly 84,000 San Diegans who suffer from Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

Make it a priority to plan for incapacity. Think about what is most important to you and your life, and take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones before it’s too late.


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