Washington, D.C. estate lawyer Gary Altman explains why incapacity planning is so important.
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The worst case is, if you don’t do planning, you die or you become incapacitated – you have a stroke – no one can make decisions for you. No one can write your checks, no one can talk to the phone company, no one can file your tax return, no one can talk to the doctors. No one.
The only answer to that is a guardianship proceeding. If you have done your planning, which includes, again, a Power of Attorney for medical reasons, a Power of Attorney for financial reasons, then you’ve designated the people who you want to make those decisions for you. And so, therefore, when you can’t act, those people will step in.
It’s also important to name successors, okay? So, I name my son to make medical decisions for me. Suppose he’s in China and he can’t? I need someone else to step in. So, there’s got to be successors to make decisions, too.