When people are young, the last thing on their minds is the risk of falling ill or becoming seriously injured. Youth carries a sense of invincibility, which often extends until a person becomes a parent and begins to consider the many and varied ways that incapacitation can occur. Having a plan in place that will direct the course of one's care is an important component of Tennessee estate planning, and it is one that should be addressed in early adulthood.
Incapacitation planning begins by selecting an individual to act as one's proxy in matters of health care and finances. Those permissions are granted by means of a health care proxy and durable power of attorney. Some people choose to designate one individual to handle both of these roles, while others decide to divide the responsibilities between two individuals. No matter who is chosen to act in one's stead, it is important to sit down and discuss the matter with the chosen individual(s).
Failure to designate a health care or financial representative can lead to a great deal of turmoil for loved ones. Absent any type of guidance, family members and close friends often fall into contention over how to handle matters, which can result in a court case to determine who should be granted authority to make those decisions. This can serve to divide a family at a time when they most need each other's support.
In this way, creating a comprehensive incapacitation plan is not only a measure of self-protection, it is also a gift that a Tennessee resident can give to loved ones. No one wants to consider what would happen in the event of a serious illness or injury, but having these documents in place can make all the difference if an emergency occurs. No matter one's age or marital status, creating an incapacitation plan should be a priority.
Source: Wicked Local, Scituate, "PLANNING MATTERS: Singles still need an estate plan", Leanna Hamill, Feb. 19, 2016