Disability and Your Estate Plan
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Despite forethought and concerted strategy, you cannot possibly prepare for every conceivable emergency. Life could deal you a car accident, sudden illness, workplace injury or chronic medical condition – each of which could force you to reevaluate the core assumptions you relied on when you originally established your estate.
Of course, you may escape life unscathed by the above. If you do, you’ll land in the minority. Consider the following statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in 2016:
- In the United States, an estimated range of 37 million to 57 million people live with a disability.
- The chance of having a disability goes up with age, from less than 10% for people 15 years of age or younger, to almost 75% for people 80 years of age or older.
- 2% of all adults reported a limitation, in some way, in at least one activity because of physical, mental, or emotional problems.
At Skvarna Law Firm in Upland and Glendora, California, we sincerely hope that your life proves the exception to the rule. But, even if it does, you and your loved ones will benefit if you prepare for this type of contingency when you craft or alter your will.
- Someone is pre-authorized to make financial and healthcare decisions for you in the event you succumb to physical or mental disability.
- An authorized person is designated to manage your property, pay your bills, file your taxes and handle similar business if you are unable to accomplish these tasks.
- Your wishes about health care decisions (such as advanced directives and other end-of-life care have been communicated in a legally valid manner.
Your estate planning attorney can also help you:
- Make sure that your insurance is sufficient.
- Assess your investment options and portfolio considering potential limitations and constraints and ability to generate income.
- Ensure you have a working budget and bill-paying strategy.
Note that the word “disability” for legal purposes is different than what is meant by “disability” in the context of financial-planning. For example, for financial purposes, disability could mean you not able to secure gainful employment. “Incapacity,” in estate-planning, on the other hand, means that you are no longer capable of making sound decisions. In other words, you can be “disabled” for financial/insurance purposes while remaining able-bodied and of sound mind for legal purposes. Nevertheless, nearly everyone who is disabled for legal purposes would also be considered disabled for financial purposes.
Estate Planning Tips:
- Pay attention to budgeting and long-term planning strategies. Your estate planning attorney will be able to help you assess whether your current plans remain realistic and, if not, alternative options you might exercise.
- Stay healthy. While you can’t proactively protect yourself from random disasters, you could cut down on eating sugar and fat-laden foods and start exercising, to reduce your chances for disease.
- Seek out trusted professionals. Ask your friends and family for assistance with the heavy lifting estate-wise. Your team can work with you to help reduce anxiety and uncertainty, to keep you focused on what really matters.
We can help assess your long-term plans and documents and make sure you are as secure as possible when faced with new challenges. Keeping your estate planning binder secure and up to date will reduce confusion as well as the likelihood of disputes. Whatever your circumstances, rest assured that the professionals at Skvarna Law can help you to determine the best way to handle your trust. Skvarna Law Firm operates offices in Glendora and Upland, California and provides legal services for individuals living in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties. This includes the cities of Upland, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Colton, Rialto, Chino, Chino Hills, Glendora, Claremont, Montclair, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Azusa, Covina, West Covina, Diamond Bar, Walnut, La Puente, Corona, Norco & Mira Loma. Visit SkvarnaLaw.com to learn more.