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How to Choose the Right Agents for Your Incapacity Plan

by Phil Levin, Esq. on July 30th, 2015

There are two very important decisions you must make when putting together your incapacity plan:

  1. Who will be in charge of managing your finances during incapacity
  2. Who will be in charge of making your medical decisions during incapacity

Factors you should consider when deciding who to appoint as your primary and back-up financial agents and health care agents include:

  • Where does the agent live? With modern technology, the physical distance between you and your agent may no longer be a significant factor. Nevertheless, an individual who lives close to you may often be a better choice than someone who lives in another state or country.
  • How busy is the agent? If your agent has a demanding job, travels frequently for work, or is of advanced age, then that person may not have the time, desire, or inclination to handle the management of your financial affairs nor make medical decisions for your benefit.
  • Does the agent have expertise in managing finances or in the health care field? A person with work experience in finances or medicine is often an excellent choice to serve as an agent. While this may be obvious to many, we regularly see clients who have selected their agents based upon friendship, an honorarium, or family relationship. We counsel our clients to select their agents based upon their ability, availability, and desire to discharge the duties and responsibilities which the individual may be required to perform if you suffer an illness or incapacity which requires their time and commitment to serve in your best interest as your agent.

Planning Tip: Choosing the wrong person to serve as your financial or health care agent may easily result in an ineffective incapacity plan. You can select different people to handle each role, that is, one person can be in charge of your health care decisions and another individual can be in charge of your financial matters. In order to create an effective incapacity plan, you need to carefully consider who to select as your financial and health care agents, then discuss your decision with those people in order to confirm that he or she will, in fact, be willing and able to serve as your agent.

Is Your Incapacity Plan Up-To-Date?

As time passes by and your life changes, your incapacity plan may easily become outdated or ineffective when needed. Therefore, it is important for you to have your incapacity plan reviewed every few years, or after a major life event (such as a divorce or a death in your family), to ensure that your plan works the way you intend it to work, if it is ever needed by you in the future.

Please feel free to forward this edition of Estate Planning Matters to your friends, family members, and colleagues who may need to establish or update their personal estate plan.

To learn more about how The Levin Law Firm can create an estate plan designed to help you and your clients achieve their incapacity planning and wealth transfer goals, please contact our office to schedule a Complimentary Consultation at (610) 977-2443.

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