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  • Writer's pictureMark Seither

Grandpa Forgot His Password, PIN, and Pants

I’m making light of something painful for the whole family: a severe disability and/or mental incapacitation. If you thought probate was tough, imagine having a family member, still alive, but unable to put an end to the desolation of their net worth before they die. 

Roughly 80% of Americans will endure a sustained duration of disability before they pass, and the percentage of those prepared is MUCH lower! Having a will is no good during these times because, frankly, you’re not dead. Without giving LEGAL authority for someone to step in, certain government agencies intervene and take control of your finances. Here is what you need to ensure this doesn’t happen to your family. 

Durable Power of Attorney

When some gives a trusted person a “durable” power of attorney, they are allowing that person to legally stand in and make legal and financial decisions, should they become mentally unfit to make decisions for themselves. Please note that this is different then a “non-durable” power of attorney that merely allows someone to stand in and make decisions BUT IS INVALID SHOULD THE PERSON BECOME MENTALLY INCAPACITATED! This is popular with those going on long trips, active military duty, etc. In order to be effective during times of disability, your power of attorney must be durable. 

Advanced Healthcare Directive 

This outlines how you want to be cared for and gives instruction on things like NDRs (Do Not Resuscitate), when to be taken off life support – the medical doozies, etc. This might be one of the most emotionally draining disasters you can avoid for the rest of your family. Should you be on life support, pronounced brain dead, and wracking up a bill, your family will have to fight for the right to make the decision to call it quits. Typically, families get together, everyone makes their case, the top two play a best-out-of-three rock-paper-scissors for who’s entrusted to make the official call, and the winner (or loser) gets to enjoy the emotional burden of technically opting to end the life of a beloved family member. Obviously, this is a sarcastic take on the dreadful position the family is in without an Advanced Healthcare Directive. We make sure this gets discussed when walking through our estate planning outline with Helios Integrated Planning.

This just scratches the surface of a comprehensive estate plan, but these two components are a KILLER to not just a person’s estate, but the family relationships and legacy they leave behind. When care taking and financials are left unclear, it is for the state to decide until the family is able to get an emergency appointment. We could probably fill an entire book on family dynamics, birth order, personality strengths and weaknesses, etc. that make dealing and living with the decisions made among family members, but we will leave that topic for the clinical psychologists and therapists who inevitably end up caring for the emotionally distraught. If you have more questions on estate planning, reach out to us through our Request Estate Plan button found here.

Just remember, grandpa may forget his password, PIN, and pants one day. When he does, you can either keep the family relationships and legacy together or watch helplessly on the side lines. We hope you choose the former! 

This information is provided for educational purposes. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. 


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