What is Incapacity?
Under the Texas Estates Code, an incapacitated adult is someone who has a physical or mental condition that leaves them substantially unable to:
- Provide food, clothing, or shelter for themselves;
- Care for their own physical health; OR
- Manage their own financial affairs.
Incapacity can occur at any time and to anyone. It is often unexpected and could result from a medical condition or an accident at work or in your vehicle. Incapacity planning provides a plan of action for who will make your medical, financial, and other decisions should you lose your physical or mental faculties.
How do I plan for Incapacity?
The Texas Estates Code contains multiple incapacity planning documents that should be included in everyone's estate plan. These documents will cover various situations that could arise should you become incapacitated. They include:
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney - This document is used allows you to appoint an agent to act on your behalf in financial situations. Meaning they will have the ability to act as if they were you in regards to your finances. The degree of financial access they have is something you can specify in the document. Financial powers range from real property transactions to banking transactions to tax matters.
- Medical Power of Attorney - This document allows you to appoint an agent to make any and all of your healthcare decisions. Your agent will make medical decisions for you regarding everything from medications to the types of treatments you should have.
- Advanced Directives to Physicians - This document is a notice to your physicians about the degree of life-prolonging treatment you wish to have in the event that you have a terminal or irreversible condition.
- Declaration of Guardian in the Event of Later Incapacity - This document allows you to choose the person you wish to care for you should you become incapacitated. Your guardian is the person who will provide you with food, shelter, and love.
- This is a highly contested and litigated area of law and choosing your guardian ahead of time can save your family countless hours of court time if they cannot agree on who should care for you.
Incapacity planning is equally as important as death planning and all of the above documents should be included in a well-crafted estate plan. Being prepared for the unexpected ensures that you'll have the highest quality of life should the worst happen. Take some time to think about your future and contact Third Coast Law today to have an Incapacity Plan added to your estate plan.
Ready to find out more?
Give us a call at Third Coast Law and complete your estate plan by planning for incapacity. A small investment today will go a long way tomorrow.