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Norwood Estate Planning Lawyer > Blog > Estate Planning Attorney > Planning For Incapacity In Massachusetts A Checklist That You Can Use

Planning For Incapacity In Massachusetts A Checklist That You Can Use


A well-designed estate plan should be comprehensive. Among other things, that means planning for incapacity. While it can be uncomfortable for many people to think about, the reality is that there could come a day when you can no longer reasonably manage your own affairs. At Fisher Law LLC, we help people and families prepare for incapacity. Here, our Boston estate planning lawyer provides a comprehensive checklist that you can use for incapacity planning in Massachusetts. 

You Need an Estate Plan You Can Rely On: An Incapacity Planning Checklist 

  • Last Will and Testament 

You can only write a Will in Massachusetts if you have legal capacity. In other words, if you are incapacitated and you do not have a Will, your family cannot create one for you. The document should already be in place. A Last Will and Testament is like a roadmap that clarifies your wishes after you pass away. It tells people who should get your belongings—including your house, your life savings, and your other assets. 

  • Durable Power of Attorney (POA) 

Who will make decisions on your behalf if you are not in a position to make them on your own? A durable power of attorney (POA) grants close loved ones the authority that they need to act for you when you cannot act. Think of a Durable Power of Attorney as picking a teammate who can make financial decisions for you if you can’t. The person you select is called an “agent” of “attorney-in-fact”—and they can help handle your money, pay your bills, and make important choices if you are unable to do it yourself. 

Health Care Proxy

A Health Care Proxy, is a set of permissive authorizations that you give to a close loved one about your health care in the event that you cannot make these types of decisions for yourself.  [Note:  A Living Will is not legally enforceable in Massachusetts.] 

  • HIPAA Release Form 

HIPAA is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of medical records. It is an important law that can raise certain challenges when a person becomes incapacitated. Their family may struggle to get access to medical records. A HIPAA release form solves this problem. You can use it to grant certain trusted people the authority to deal with your doctors on your behalf if you cannot do so.  Our Health Care Proxies include a HIPAA Release so that your decision makers named in the Health Care Proxy can speak with doctors, nurses and other medical professional about your care and receive pertinent medical information so that these decision makers can make informed decisions.    Fisher Law LLC also creates a document called a HIPAA Authorization to list the names of your health care proxies or agents in the Health Care Proxy but also other family members or close friends that you permit to call a nurses station or speak to a medical professional about your health.  The individuals listed in the HIPAA Authorization that are not included in the Health Care Proxy are not decision makers; they are recipients of information about you and your care as these people are the ones that are most concerned about your welfare when no information is shared. 

  • Communication With Loved Ones 

Communication is key to successful estate planning—and incapacity planning is certainly no exception. Sharing your wishes and plans can help avoid confusion later. Let them know about your will, your chosen agent for your POA, your health care wishes, and other relevant matters. 

Speak to Our Boston, MA Incapacity Planning Attorney Today

At Fisher Law LLC, our Boston estate planning lawyers have extensive experience helping clients with incapacity planning. Have questions about your options? Our legal team is here to help. Contact us right away to set up your confidential initial appointment. We provide incapacity planning services in Boston and throughout the surrounding region in the Commonwealth.

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