When developing an estate plan that will effectively protect you and your loved ones in the future, one critical thing to incorporate is incapacity planning. This essentially details what your wishes are if you should ever become incapacitated and unable to communicate them at some point in the future.
Because there’s a lot to consider when it comes to incapacity planning – and because the specifics are typically not issues that people think about regularly, below, we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about incapacity planning to help you get started.
While the following answers are helpful, however, don’t hesitate to contact our Pueblo attorneys when you are ready for specific answers pertaining to you, your situation and your needs.
Important Answers about Incapacity Planning in Colorado
Q – What aspects of my estate plan will include details about incapacity planning?
A – Generally, will documents or specific incapacity planning documents can include details about your wishes in terms of incapacity plans. More specifically, these estate planning instruments can include details about when powers of attorney – medical and/or financial powers of attorney – are to take effect.
Setting up powers of attorney is one of the cornerstones of incapacity planning, as these devices grant another trusted party the authority to make important health care and/or financial decisions on your behalf (either immediately or after a specific event has occurred).
Q – What are the types of details that need to be covered in incapacity planning?
A – Some of the most important details that will be explained in incapacity plans include (and are by no means limited to):
- Who your agents are – While this aspect can include one distinct agent for the medical power of attorney and another for the financial power of attorney, it can also include names of successor agents (should the first choices not be available at some later point).
- The scope of the authority that the agents will have – In other words, this feature will detail how expansive or limited the powers of attorney are.
- Your wishes for incapacity and/or end-of-life care – This can include “do-not-resuscitate” orders, for instance.
Q – Can I choose more than one agent to hold the power(s) of attorney?
A – Yes, it’s possible to name co-agents to hold a single power of attorney, such as your financial power of attorney. In some cases, people may find it beneficial to name a trusted loved one as one co-agent while naming a trusted attorney/professional as another agent (to ensure there is professional oversight when the power of attorney takes effect).
Q – What happens if I become incapacitated before developing an incapacity plan?
A – In these situations, it will typically be up to the court to decide who should have the authority to make decisions on your behalf. And while can lead to lengthy and costly court battles, it may also result in someone whom you wouldn’t have selected making decisions for you (and potentially make decisions you would not like or have preferred had you had the opportunity to detail them in an incapacity plan).
Q – What else do I need to know about incapacity planning?
A – Potentially a lot but, at the very least, the following two facts should be understood:
- Developing an incapacity plan with the help of an estate lawyer is crucial – otherwise you run the risk of not having your plan cover all of the essentials, not holding up later
- Once you have an incapacity (and estate) plan in place, it’s important to review and update it regularly – This is to ensure that your plans are always up to date, reflecting your current status and wishes.
Need More Answers? Contact the Pueblo Attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth
For the highest quality services and representation for estate planning and probate in Colorado, contact the experienced Pueblo attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.