What happens to your estate if you become incapacitated?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2021 | Estate Planning

A judge may appoint someone to handle your finances and medical decisions if you become incapacitated without an incapacitation plan. In Colorado, even if your bank accounts are under joint ownership, there are some restrictions on what the other owner can do while you’re incapacitated.

Real estate

Your loved one can’t sell real estate that’s under joint ownership because this requires the consent of both owners. You will have to include a clause in your incapacitation plan granting them permission to sell on your behalf if you want them to have this option. Speak with an estate planning lawyer for assistance on determining what you want to do with your real estate if you become incapacitated. Maybe you wouldn’t want anyone selling it, so this needs to be clearly stated in the plan.

Assign a medical power of attorney

Consider who you want to make health care decisions for you. Also, outline what decisions are important to you that they will need to honor. The most well-known example is the issue of life support. Whether you want life support or not, you need to include this in your incapacitation plan. Don’t expect verbal agreements to hold.

You need to authorize a HIPAA release for your health care power of attorney too so that they can access your medical information. The HIPAA greatly limits what medical information your family can view. This could mean your family won’t know important details about your prognosis.

Designate a financial power of attorney

Your financial power of attorney will have the ability to make financial decisions for you. Examples of tasks they can complete on your behalf are filing tax returns, paying bills, managing investments and mortgaging and selling real estate. If there are certain powers you don’t want them to have, you can define the limitations in your incapacitation plan.

Because it’s possible for anyone to become incapacitated, all people should have an incapacitation plan. It’s worth taking the time to sit with a lawyer and determine what you want and don’t want in such a situation.