How can my estate plan help if I become unable to care for myself? Your Trust provides assets; your Power of Attorney authorizes someone on your behalf.
Since it is hard to think about, people often overlook the real possibility that their competency might fade. One day, you may be less than fully equipped to take care of yourself.
But let’s be frank. If you begin to slip, I believe that you would prefer to have planned for what happens. Being at the mercy of the plan of someone else is not probably all you are hoping for.
So then, what plan might we put in place?
First: a Trust that contemplates the possibility of you coming to a point where you want a little help; and
Second: a Durable Power of Attorney document: you appoint someone who you trust to care for you and your finances.
Hopefully, you have some notion of what is a Trust.
If not, please take 4-5 minutes to watch one of my other videos. Toward being ready to take care of you during your life, your trust can help. It can provide that a trusted person will become the Trustee (basically the administrator) of your Trust. This Trustee, if you should need help, can muster assets of your Trust to be available to you and for your benefit. Your Trustee will have limited powers. They will not have authority to grab up your trust assets and do whatever they like. Instead, you name them as a trusted fiduciary, who is bound to act by the provisions of your Trust document. They may act only in your best interest, consistent with the terms defined in your Trust. This is the side of your estate plan which provides your support.
And how will your Durable Power of Attorney help?
In your Durable Power of Attorney, you will name someone you trust who has authority to care for you, personally. And you also name someone who has authority to make medical decisions with and for you. This can be the same or different people, and they only have authority to act along with and not against your competent wishes. In other words, your Trust and Trustee work to fund and support you, while the person/people named in your Durable Power of Attorney document make sure your care is accomplished. This person may deal with the the bank or pharmacy for you, even the cable company or post office.
In summary then, with the tandem of your Trust and someone appointed in your Durable Power of Attorney, you can know that you have put a dependable structure in place. You can be prepared in the event something should happen. Now, compare this to the notion that maybe you do nothing. Then, if you should need care, your family is left to decide how to go about marshaling assets and personnel to help with your care. This may go well. And, it may not.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be part of creating that plan for my life.
So, how can my estate plan help if I become unable to care for myself? Your Trust can provide you the support you need. Your Durable Power of Attorney can appoint someone you trust to help you with all sorts of things.