Providing For Your Incapacity

If you become incapacitated and not able to manage your own financial affairs, you might mistakenly think, as a lot of folks do, your spouse or adult children can automatically step in and take over for you in handling your personal care and financial affairs. The shocking truth is that for others to be able to manage your finances, they have to first petition the probate court to have you declared legally incompetent and appoint a guardian to manage your personal care and a conservator to manage your finances.

This living probate process can be lengthy, costly and stressful. Even if the probate judge appoints the person you would have chosen, they may have to come back to the court every year and report on how they are spending and investing each and every dime of your money. If you want a family member or friend to be able to immediately take over for you, you must designate that person you trust, in a documented, proper legal form, to give them the authority to withdraw money from your bank accounts, pay your bills, take annual distributions from your retirement account, sell stocks or refinance your home. Your will does not take effect until you die.

In addition to planning for your financial affairs if you are incapacitated, you should also create a plan for your medical care. Georgia law allows you to appoint someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend, to make decisions for you about your medical treatment options in the event you lose the ability to make those decisions for yourself. You can do this by creating an Advance Directive for Health Care, in which you select the person to make such decisions. This document also contains language formerly used in a living will, which informs others of your preferred medical treatments in case you are ever in a persistent vegetative state or become terminally ill.

To arrange a confidential consultation with a skilled attorney at The Manely Firm, P.C., call 866-687-8561. Or, if you prefer, complete the online form.

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