As you probably know, estate planning allows you to arrange your affairs as you please and ensures that your final wishes are fulfilled upon death or incapacitation. Everyone can benefit from an up-to-date estate plan, but it may be even more critical for those with a diagnosed mental illness.
An early goal for these individuals is to create an estate plan that accounts for any limitations or risks the condition may pose. Below are some estate planning steps that may help you meet this goal and strengthen your protections.
1. Get more details
Speak with your care provider about what you can expect going forward. Will your mental condition or its treatment cause any problems? You will need that information to ensure your estate plan protects your autonomy, loved ones and assets.
2. Review your entire estate plan
Consider having your plan reviewed by a legal representative as soon as possible. With your new diagnosis, you want to be sure it contains no weaknesses that could threaten your assets and autonomy. Must-have provisions include:
- A current will for asset distribution
- Advance directives for healthcare control (if incapacitated)
- A financial power of attorney appointing someone to make your financial decisions (if incapacitated)
- One or more asset protection trusts to preserve your wealth
In Illinois, you can create a Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration stating the types of mental illness treatments you want and those you do not wish to receive.
3. Inform your loved ones
Consider talking about your estate planning decisions, especially those involving asset distribution and healthcare (mental and physical). Informing them may prevent misunderstandings that could threaten the decisions you made so carefully.