What Happens to Your Estate if You Become Incapacitated?
Imagine a situation where you are unable to carry out your normal activities because of incapacity.
You might be involved in an accident or suffered a stroke. This means you will need help to manage your affairs such as paying bills, managing your bank accounts, or handling your property.
As much as you would like to do things on your own, there will be no choice other than to hire an estate planning attorney Seattle to help you manage. Our attorneys can assist with the appointment of a guardian also known as a conservator or personal representative to handle your affairs.
Conservatorship or guardianship is a situation where the court takes over the management of your estate by appointing a relative or a trustworthy individual. The court can name either your spouse, child, or a close family member. Transferring control to a trusted person can keep your affairs on track and provide significant peace of mind.
What does it mean to become incapacitated?
Being incapacitated means you have been rendered unable to perform normal duties due to an accident, stroke, or anything that deprives you of the power of natural functioning.
Planning for incapacity
Life can sometimes turn out completely different from your expectations. An accident can happen any time or you may suffer from a stroke because of an underlying health condition. As such, it is important to prepare for such unforeseen situations.
Here are some of the ways you can prepare:
A durable power of attorney
One of the best ways to prepare for incapacity is the use of the durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is an arrangement where one person chooses another to act on his or her behalf in case they are incapacitated.
An estate planning lawyer Seattle is best placed to help you in drafting a clear agreement with regards to whom you want to act on your behalf in case you are incapacitated.
Powers of attorney can either be financial or medical and can be crafted to address either general or specific issues. For example, a financial power of attorney only grants that person to carry out the specific instruction stipulated in the agreement.
A power of attorney can become effective right after signing or wait until you become incapacitated. A problem may arise, however, for those selected to act on your behalf to legally prove that you are incapacitated.
Through your Seattle estate planning lawyer, you can specify in your living will what should happen in case you become incapacitated. This may include instructions such as giving instructions to doctors or healthcare professionals not to keep you in a life support machine under certain conditions.
Revocable living trust
A revocable living trust is also a great way to prepare for incapacity. Your appointed trustee will just manage your property in your best interest if you become incapacitated. The good thing about a revocable living trust is that you can change it at any time to suit your situation.
Why a lawyer is important
Estate laws are complex. It is important to consult with experienced Seattle Washington attorneys from Frey Buck in case you become incapacitated.