One of the most common estate planning mistakes is to focus on creating trusts and wills to make sure that property is transferred according to your wishes, to the exclusion of anything else. Another essential issue to consider when estate planning is incapacity. When a person is unable to make medical decisions or handle a situation because of an injury or medical condition, someone else needs to step in. In Oklahoma, a person’s wishes for how incapacity issues should be handled should be clearly outlined in an advance care directive.

Healthcare Directives

When a person experiences incapacity, he or she is unable to provide details about what type of medical care he or she should receive. Healthcare directives become effective when a person is no longer able to speak for him or herself as a result of a medical condition. These directives allow a person to list the types of medical treatment he or she would like to receive and not like to receive. After a person executes a healthcare directive, a person has the option to alter or revoke it at any time.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

There are a number of medical procedures that might be used for people experiencing incapacity. No matter how comprehensive a person tries to be ahead of time, a healthcare directive cannot predict every situation that can occur. To fully address issues of incapacity, it is a wise idea for a person to also create a healthcare power of attorney. A healthcare power of attorney document allows a person to nominate another individual to make healthcare decisions in cases of incapacity. An agent must make healthcare decisions according to what a person states in a healthcare directive. If a healthcare directive fails to address a situation, a person’s agent can decide how to continue based on a person’s preference. In addition to making healthcare decisions, an agent can be granted the power to check a person in and out of medical centers, hire and terminate medical staff that provides care, and receive or review a person’s medical records.

Durable Power of Attorney

After incapacity occurs, there are a number of obstacles that potentially arise including issues associated with a person’s finances. If a person becomes incapacitated, the responsibility of meeting that person’s financial needs can be assigned to another person as designated through a durable power of attorney document. Although a person has the ability to determine the matters in which an agent has permission to step in, it is common for people who create durable powers of attorney for managing financial affairs.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

There are a number of complex issues involved with estate planning, including issues of incapacity. To make sure that all of your wishes are fully taken into consideration, it is a wise idea to speak with a skilled estate planning lawyer. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free initial consultation.