A temporary or permanent disability can affect anyone. Sometimes the disability is sudden–like a car wreck or heart attack. Sometimes a serious illness like Alzheimers’, advanced cancer, or ALS causes a slow, but steady health decline.
How Your Life May Be Altered By a Serious Disability
- You may be unable to work your normal job or unable to do any kind of work
- You may be unable to make your own decisions, communicate your wishes, or manage your own affairs
- If you have children, you may not be able to properly care for them on your own
- You may not be able to create a will or change your estate plan if you are not of sound mind
Combating These Problems – The Basics
Create a Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive
The most important step you should take to plan for your incapacitation is to have a valid statutory durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney.
- The power of attorney gives your designated agent the power to pay your bills, access your bank accounts, and keep your financial matters in order if you are unable to do so.
- The health care power of attorney allows you to designate authority to a person of your choice to make medical decisions on your behalf.
- You should also include a health care directive that states your wishes regarding certain treatments, such as whether you wish to remain alive on life support in certain situations.
- These documents put financial and health care decisions in the hand of those you trust, if you cannot make decisions for yourself.
Our Estate Plan recommendation includes all of the previously mentioned documents as well as a Last Will and Testament.
Prevent Financial Disaster Due To Disability
A disability could prevent you from working ever again. Here ways to strengthen your resources to help avoid financial issues due to a disability:
- Be aware of your disability insurance options, including employer-provided insurance, Social Security Disability benefits, and private disability insurance. Consider buying disability insurance to help replace your income, if this benefit is not offered by your employer.
- Your existing insurance probably doesn’t cover long-term care. Long-term care planning should be considered in any estate plan, as the costs can be very high and deplete your assets quickly.
- Medicaid planning to pay for nursing home care may be an option for some people, while others should consider long-term care insurance. Medicaid planning is one of our specialties at Weaver Firm – Attorneys. The average nursing home cost in 2018 is over $6,000 a month per person or about $72,000 per year. Our planning sessions cost less than $1,000. You do the math.
- If you have minor children, you should already have a guardian designated to care for them. If you are disabled, you may not be physically able to care for your children and you may not have the mental capacity to choose a guardian at that time.
- Even if you are healthy now, planning for disability can give you peace of mind and protect your family.
Consult an estate planning attorney to discuss your disability planning concerns or call us at 817-638-2022 to schedule an appointment. At Weaver Firm – Attorneys, we focus on estate planning and elder law. Rick Weaver, attorney, is board-certified in estate planning and probate, with decades of experience. Travis Weaver, attorney, focuses on helping families with legal planning for disabilities, Medicaid nursing home qualification, and setting up wills.
817.638.2022 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net