Incapacity planning is an important overall part of the estate planning process. It ensures the estate planner will be taken care of according to their wishes if they become incapacitated and are unable to handle their own financial affairs or direct their own medical affairs. For that reason, estate planners should know what factors to consider when selecting an agent.
How to select an agent for incapacity
Incapacity planning can be achieved through powers of attorney, healthcare proxies and living wills. The estate planner needs to designate an agent to manage their financial and healthcare affairs according to their incapacity plan and should consider several factors when selecting an agent including:
- The agent’s location – where the agent lives can matter. Though we live in a digital age when physical boundaries and distance are less significant, it can still be helpful to designate an agent that lives near the estate planner. Even if they do not live near, it is better if they do not live in another state or country.
- The agent’s time commitments – the estate planner should ask themselves what the agent’s time commitments are. Managing the estate planner’s financial affairs and healthcare concerns while they are incapacitated can be time consuming so it is best not to select an agent that is too busy for the task.
- The agent’s expertise – the estate planner should ask themselves if the agent has any experience in the financial or healthcare fields. Such experience is not required but can be helpful if the agent has it.
Once the estate planner has selected an agent, they should discuss their decision with the agent and confirm they are willing to serve in that capacity. Having an effective plan for incapacity is an important part of estate planning and selecting the best possible agent for the job is part of that.