Should I plan for incapacity?

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Should I Plan For Incapacity

According to a recent survey, over 60% of us do not have an estate plan. Part of the reason for this is because estate planning is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, and it is a scary, depressing conversation. After all, it is all about what happens after we die, right? Not necessarily. An often-overlooked part of an estate plan is incapacity planning, i.e., planning for if you become incapacitated.


Incapacitated refers to a time when you are unable to make your own decisions. This could be because you are physically incapacitated, like in a coma, or mentally incapacitated, like if you get dementia. In both scenarios, you are unable to make your own decisions, and an incapacitation plan within your broad estate plan can make sure that your wishes are honored and your life is handled until you are no longer incapacitated. After all, the possibility of losing one’s mental faculties, while not a pleasant thought, is a very real possibility for a lot of us.

Incapacity planning?

Broadly, incapacity planning refers to planning what happens now, should you become incapacitated. This is a different type of Haddonfield, New Jersey, estate planning because it plans for a possibility, not an eventuality, like death.

Your incapacity plan may never be used. It addresses three broad decision topics: health, financial and personal. In addition, it both ensures your wishes on these topics are followed and gives someone the legal authority to carry out those wishes.

A living will and do not resuscitate orders

A living will refers to the legal document that outlines your wishes, should you become incapacitated. It is an advanced medical directive that should also include the circumstances where you do not want to be resuscitated (do not resuscitate order).

Power of attorney

A power of attorney gives someone whom you designate to act on your behalf, should you become incapacitated. Make sure they know your wishes and agree to act on your behalf, and you can have a separate Haddonfield, New Jersey, power of attorney for health, financial and personal decisions.

Make backup designations

Whoever you designate in your power of attorney to act on your behalf should be one of a list of people. Why? Because life happens. Whoever you designate may pre-decease you, they may not want the responsibility when the time arrives or you may change your mind. Make sure you keep your Haddonfield, New Jersey, designations up-to-date too.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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