Have you ever considered the possibility that you could someday become mentally disabled or physically in a vegetative state? Not many people consider this, but this could happen at any time. For this reason, a disability plan is a vital part of estate planning, and you should begin your preparation today. Your disability plan will take care of your medical and financial needs in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
If a doctor should diagnose you as mentally disabled or in a long term vegetative state and you do not have a disability plan, a court of law will have to create a guardianship. The chosen person will be a court-supervised guardian who will make decisions for you. When you create a disability plan, you can keep the legal system out of your personal affairs and name who you wish to care for your needs.
There are a variety of ways to prepare for your medical needs in the event of a disability. A Living Will (Advance Directive) is a common device used to state your desires regarding life support and terminal illness care. This document, however, is limited to only communicating on the issues you mention. If you wish to have an actual person speak for you, then you should consider a Medical Power of Attorney along with your Advance Directive. These documents will help assure that your wishes will be followed regarding your medical choices while you are incapacitated.
It is also essential to consider your financial needs. You can use a Durable Power of Attorney to name a financial agent. This person will be able to make financial decisions for you while you are disabled including: paying bills, handling income, and controlling your investments. All financial acts performed must be with your interest and the interest of your family in mind. This agent will be able to pay for your long term medical bills and care as well.
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