One of the situations Georgia residents should plan for when creating an estate plan is the event that they might become incapacitated. Should they be unable to make important decisions by themselves, it is important that the necessary documents are in place to ensure that their preferences regarding their finances and health will be honored.

Preparation is important when planning for the unexpected. People should begin by consolidating their assets, which includes closing any redundant accounts. Formalization of the actions that one takes regarding their assets is also critical to making sure that executors or beneficiaries adhere to how a loved one wants their assets to be handled. If there are no formal, legal documents in place, the decisions regarding an incapacitated person’s welfare and assets will be left in the hands of the court.

Advanced medical directives should be included in the estate plan, including a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Other types of directives include a living will and a do-not-resuscitate order. The exact directives that should be included in one’s estate plan depend on the state in which they reside.

With a living will, a person can be given the authority to make decisions regarding the signatory of the document. In the majority of states, people are allowed use living wills in situations in which there is a terminal illness or injury. In situations in which a living will is not applicable, a healthcare proxy, which allows someone to be appointed to make medical decisions on an incapacitated person, can be used.

An estate planning attorney may advise clients which legal documents are necessary for their particular estate plan. The attorney may also be able to draft estate planning documents such as living wills, various trusts and healthcare proxies.