Many people create an estate plan to provide for their family after their death and to distribute their assets. But estate planning is equally important in the event you become seriously ill or are somehow incapacitated. Recent events have left parents of young children making plans to care for their children to be cared for if they are hospitalized. If someone is legally incapacitated, it generally means they cannot handle their personal and financial affairs. It also means they can not create legally binding documents, such as will, trusts or health directives.
Physical and mental incapacitation can be temporary or permanent, and due to different factors:
• a temporary illness
• a serious car accident
• a permanent health condition
To protect your family, business and your assets it is critical that you create an estate plan before you become incapacitated. Any legal document created after you are incapacitated can be legally challenged – even if you feel you were fully competent when the document was created. For example, your will can be contested if someone ‘with standing’ feels you were incapacitated when the will was created and signed.
If you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated, there are three legal documents that can help protect your family and your assets:
1. Temporary Guardianship
An Illinois Short Term Guardianship can help your family if you are temporarily unable to care for your child.
2. Financial Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated, a power of attorney (POA) your bills and other financial obligations still need to be met. A durable power of attorney is used to allow the designated person to handle affairs in a certain area of the principal’s life, such as in financial matters.
3. Healthcare Proxy
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that allows one person to indefinitely make decisions on behalf of another.
Planning for your potential incapacity requires many decisions about your family, your health and your finances. An experienced estate planning attorney can help make sure you and your loved ones are protected.
An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you create an estate plan to manage your affairs if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Consulting an experienced probate, trust and estates attorney in Chicago or Lombard can give you advice and discuss your legal options. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630.800.0112.