As mentioned before, estate planning is not an easy thing for most. Often people race through the process, creating a will and contingencies for when they die, but forgetting about one important possibility: incapacity.
Just as important as making sure your family is taken care of after you’re gone is making sure that your family is taken care of if you cannot work, if only for a short period.
Estate planning should include incapacitation
While most people think about wills and what will happen to their estates after their deaths, there is also the possibility that they may find themselves no longer able to work and support their families. This can include a short-term disability, either through injury or illness, or a long-term incapacitation requiring intensive medical care.
In some cases, employers will offer a workers’ compensation scheme as part of their employment benefits. And certain countries do offer disability assistance. But, very rarely will this cover all your needs, much less your family’s as well.
Insurance, trusts, powers of attorney
There are many instruments and solutions you can set in place if you are ever unable to work, even if you don’t qualify for state or employer benefits or if you want to supplement this outside assistance.
Most major insurance companies offer some form of disability insurance. This could range from a short-term solution to help you until you can start working again to longer-term pay-outs that start after a certain period until you reach retirement age. Another option may be creating a living trust covering certain assets. It can be executed during your life under circumstances that you specify, which can include incapacitation.
To ensure that your wishes are followed, you may want to consider a health care directive or a durable power of attorney. The first is to direct hospitals or medical personnel as to your preferred medical treatment if you cannot communicate them yourself. Are you willing to undergo any type of procedure to save your life? Do you want to be resuscitated if your heart fails? In addition to this directive, a durable power of attorney entrusts your affairs to a third party you believe will act on your and your family’s best interests.
Better safe than sorry may be cliché, but it’s true
You don’t need a team of professionals to work out all the contingencies during estate planning. Meeting with a trusted financial consultant is a good first step to making sure that all you worked for will benefit the ones you love.