We hope it doesn't happen but we all have to admit that we could be incapacitated at some point in our lives.
How to protect yourself and your family during periods of incapacitation:
Step One: Everyone needs to sign a medical power of attorney.
A medical power of attorney is just a form that is typically provided to you by your state of residence. It allows you to designate who makes medical decisions for you if you are ever incapacitated.
Step Two: Everyone needs to sign a financial power of attorney.
Some assets like life insurance and retirement plans are held by a custodian (i.e. the large company that sends your monthly statements). If you ever become incapacitated, your family may need to access these assets to pay your legitimate bills. The financial power of attorney specifies who has that ability if ever needed. Like medical powers of attorney, the financial power of attorney is a standard document that is readily available online and through law firms like ours.
Step Three: Putting as many of your assets as you can in a living trust.
For those assets that are directly titled to you (i.e. your house, bank accounts, investments, etc.), they should be titled to a living trust instead of directly to you. This way, whoever you name as your successor trustee in the trust can take over and manage assets for you in the event of death or incapacitation. This will make things easier for your family and prevent wasting money on courts and lawyers.