Planning for disability may not be necessary, if you want the default statutory scheme. As a person ages, or is otherwise disabled, that person cannot always do everything for themselves. Sometimes people with a disability cannot do anything for themselves. They cannot go to the store to purchase necessary items. They cannot receive and pay for the necessary medical care. Their assets can be easily stolen or simply languish from lack of maintenance. They need help. There is some statutory help available.
To better provide for orderly care during disability, Utah has enacted certain laws, which provide for the opportunity to go to court to determine that you are no longer capable of handling your own affairs. The Court may then appoint a guardian and/or conservator over you and your property. Between embarrassment and shame, attorney’s fees, court costs, medical examinations, and the time it takes to go through court, you and your family may not be so happy with the statutory scheme. It is a good system to fall back on if all else fails, but for most people, they can plan for better. The good news is that if you are reading this, you are probably not too late to plan for disability.
Three of the four primary tools in an estate plan assist in planning for disability. These three are trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney. Most trusts allow for a substitute trustee or even a co-trustee that may help manage financial affairs upon a person’s disability. In the health care directives, a person designates a health care agent (usually spouse and then a child), and selects certain medical directives such as when to pull the plug. This health care agent has the power to get the medical care needed, including speaking to the doctors and checking the disabled individual into health care facilities. Powers of attorney let a person act for another as if he or she were acting for himself or herself. Common uses of a power of attorney include speaking to utility companies, helping conduct banking, and speaking to the health insurance company. All three of these documents give powers such that only you should have the right to choose whom you trust enough to have them. That is why the statutory scheme contains provisions which require a person to jump through more hoops to obtain these powers.
Never forget to purchase life and disability insurance policies and keep a well-funded savings account. Having these in place often makes life easier during disability.
Advanced disability planning includes buy sell agreements, special needs trusts, and more. Contact one of our attorneys to learn more about the advanced estate planning for disability.
The Abbott Law Firm has been helping businesses and families prosper for 20 years. To see what Paul Maxfield can do to help you prosper, call for your estate planning consultation today. (801) 374-3000