Estate Planning Incapacity Documents
Since a will only operates upon one’s death, it is important to have other documents to empower trusted individuals to carry out your wishes and handle your affairs in the unfortunate event that you become incapacitated. The “durable power of attorney” and “health care proxy” are two very important documents to have in planning for this contingency. Our reputable Cambridge estate planning lawyers are here for you!
Durable Power of Attorney: The durable power of attorney allows an appointed individual to handle your financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated. It essentially ensures that there is minimal interruption in the managing of your accounts, business and home during incapacity. A durable power of attorney, such as our Boston estate planning attorneys, allows your appointee to have access to your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, handle your personal property, pay bills on your behalf and address any financial issues that might arise during your incapacity.
Care and thought should be undertaken in preparing a durable power of attorney to ensure that the powers granted are in line with your expectations and desires. Additionally, for the document to be effective, there are specific execution requirements that must be addressed.
Health Care Proxy: While a durable power of attorney is intended to provide continuity for your financial affairs, a health care proxy empowers a trusted agent named by you to make decisions about your treatment and care during your incapacity, whether it is temporary or permanent. It does not give the appointed individual power over your financial affairs. By appointing a health care agent, you can make sure that health care providers follow your wishes.
Emergency Guardianship Proxy: An “emergency guardianship proxy” allows the parents of minor children to appoint a temporary guardian in the event both parents become incapacitated. Besides providing peace of mind, this document ensures that the temporary guardians are chosen by you and that they have consented to be the temporary guardians. Similar to the durable power of attorney, this document is only effective during incapacity and does not survive after death.
Contact our Cambridge estate planning lawyers today at 781-674-2562 to speak with an estate planning lawyer about the preparation of a durable power of attorney and/or a health care proxy.