– Today, we’re gonna talk about picking the correct
incapacity trustee for your estate plan. (logo whooshes) Let’s jump right in. You know, when new
clients come to my office they are always surprised at how much time we spend
talking about what happens if they become incapacitated. A common misconception is that estate planning
means death planning, and that is simply not true. Planning for what
happens after you die is only one piece
of the giant puzzle. It is just as important, and I would say sometimes
probably even more important, to make a plan for what happens
if you become incapacitated. You need to plan
for the right now. Guys, estate planning
is also about having an incapacity plan. So, first let’s talk
about what happens when you do not have any type
of incapacity plan at all. If you do not have
an incapacity plan, then your family is
going to have to start a guardianship proceeding
in court with a judge. Luckily, in Oklahoma, we have some really great
probate and guardianship judges because it is
completely up to them who should have
guardianship over you if there is no
incapacity plan in place. You see where we’re
going with this and how important it is? Without a guardian, your family will not be able
to get control of your assets or make medical
decisions for you. A circumstance we see over and
over again is elderly fraud. It is so frustrating,
but once a tele-criminal has identified someone that
will sign up for things over the phone, things can
get bad really quickly. And like I said, we
see things like this on a regular basis. These tele-criminals will
call an elderly person and get them to sign up
for a non-existent service that’s only $20 a month by
automatic bank account draft, of course. Then a few days later,
or maybe a week later, they’ll call back
that same person then offer another great
non-existent service. But this time, it’s $50 a month. And to make it easy,
the tele-criminal will set up another
automatic monthly bank draft. Months go by,
sometimes even years, before the family
realizes the tele-criminal has swindled their loved one out of thousands and
thousands of dollars. This happens all the time, guys. The problem is that sometimes
the family can’t do anything until they have a
guardianship in place to access bank accounts
and stop this fraud. Now, even if there’s no fraud, and we just need a guardianship, the guardian will need to
report regularly to the court and will be required to
get the judge’s approval before entering into certain
types of financial transactions such as mortgaging or
selling your real estate or even making medical
decisions for you. Guardianships will continue until you either one,
regain capacity or you die, so you can see why it’s
so vitally important to have an incapacity
plan in place and pick someone that
you implicitly trust to make decisions
and to care for you. Who should you choose
as your financial agent and your healthcare agent, or your power of attorney and
healthcare power of attorney? Well, as you can see from
the above discussion, a guardian has an important
and vitally important role if you become incapacitated. Creating an incapacity
plan can help you avoid a court-appointed guardianship and save your family the time of having to go down
to the courthouse. Rather than having
a judge decide, your incapacity plan
will have you appoint one or more agents to
carry out your instructions exactly the way you want them. Now, there are two very
important decisions you must make when putting
together your incapacity plan. First, who will be in charge
of managing your finances if you become incapacitated? Second, who will be in charge
of making medical decisions on your behalf if you
become incapacitated? Now, how do you pick for
these important roles, and, I should probably
pause at this point, and say they don’t need
to be the same person. In most cases, it probably
is not even a good idea for them to be the same person. We all know the strengths
and the weaknesses of the family and friends
in our lives, right? While Amanda might be a great
financial power of attorney, there’s no way in the world
you want her in charge of medical decisions and
pulling the plug, as they say. Likewise, your son
Enrique is great at making medical decisions, but he can’t balance
his checkbook if his life depended on it, so you don’t want him
anywhere near the finances. Not too long ago, it was very
difficult to manage affairs from across the country
or even from another city. With modern technology, the distance between
folks has shrunk and really does
not matter anymore. We have some trustees
managing our clients’ estates from as far away as Europe. However, someone
who lives nearby may actually be a better choice than someone who lives
in another country or across the United States. Your power of attorney will
need to be well-organized to manage your healthcare needs, keep track of your
assets, pay your bills, and balance your checkbook in addition to being able
to manage their own finances and their own
family obligations. If your power of attorney
has a demanding job or travels frequently for work, then they may not be the person and they may not have
the required time to take care of your finances
and your medical needs. These are just a few thoughts on picking the correct
person to care for you during incapacity. If you choose the
wrong person to serve as your financial agent or your healthcare
power of attorney, your incapacity plan
is likely to fail and land you and your assets in a court-supervised
guardianship. Make certain to give this
some serious thought. If you got value today,
then please do me a favor and hit the like button below, and to get you started
and thinking about what you should do, please download our estate
planning strategies guide. I’ll put a link in the
description section below and also in the comment
section as well. Well, that is all for
today, have a great day, and always have an awesome week. Thanks for watching, and
we’ll see you again next time.