Knowing that you live with a mental health condition, you are aware that you need to plan for times when you may be ill or incapacitated. Mental illness is something that you can plan for in your estate plan, and doing so may help you make sure that you get the kind of care that you want when you need it most.
Around one in five adults have a mental health condition, so it’s important to consider ways to protect your assets and your health if your condition could lead to excess spending or incapacity.
Using a health care power of attorney to protect your rights
One thing you may want to do is to set up a health care power of attorney. Essentially, you will assign another person as the person who can make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so. For example, if you were to be catatonic, you wouldn’t be able to move or respond to the stimuli around you. Who would you want to have make decisions on your behalf under those circumstances? Your health care power of attorney appoints that person for you.
Using trusts to protect your assets against spenddown
Another thing to consider is having trusts in place to hold your assets in a way that protects them against you spending them down. Additionally, some kinds of trusts can protect your assets against creditors and collections, so they aren’t drained due to debts.
For instance, if you were to go into a manic phase of a condition and start spending recklessly, having a trust in place could minimize the risk to the assets in the trust.
Mental health is something that you should talk about with your family and attorney, so you can prepare an estate plan that is protective over you. It can be difficult to know how your mental health will change in the future, but with the right plan in place, you can make sure that you and your assets will be protected against negative actions. Trusts, health care power of attorney documents and other options can help you rest easy knowing that you are protected.