Addressing Mental Health in Estate Planning: Spouses

Addressing mental health in estate planning, especially when it involves spouses, requires careful consideration and planning. Here are some key steps to take:

Open and honest communication
Start by having open and honest conversations with your spouse about mental health concerns. Discuss any challenges or conditions that may impact decision-making abilities or require specific care. Understanding each other’s mental health needs is crucial for effective estate planning.

Create powers of attorney
Designate a healthcare power of attorney for healthcare decisions and a durable power of attorney for financial decisions. These legal documents grant your agent the authority to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Choose someone you trust who understands your wishes and will act in your best interests.

Create a Living Will: Creating a living will to outline your preferences regarding end-of-life care and medical treatment. Clearly express your wishes regarding mental health treatment, including preferences for medications, therapies, hospitalizations, and other interventions. This should be clearly articulated in your healthcare power of attorney.

Consider a living trust
A revocable/living trust can be a useful tool in managing and protecting assets while allowing for the smooth transition of control in case of incapacity. Designate a trusted person as the successor trustee who will manage trust assets and make financial decisions for your benefit during any period of incapacity.

Review beneficiary designations
Ensure that the appropriate beneficiary according to your estate planning goals is listed as the primary beneficiary on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial assets. Regularly review and update these designations to reflect any changes in your relationship, mental health circumstances, or possible special needs requirements.

Consider special needs trusts
If your spouse has a health condition that may require long-term care or ongoing support, you may want to consider establishing a special needs trust. This trust can help provide for their needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.

Involve healthcare professionals
Collaborate with health professionals, such as therapists or psychiatrists, to ensure that your estate plan aligns with your spouse’s specific health needs. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations for addressing mental health concerns within the planning process.

Remember to periodically review and update your estate plan to reflect any changes in your spouse’s health status, treatment plans, or preferences. By proactively addressing mental health in estate planning, you can ensure that your spouse’s needs are met, their wishes are respected, and their well-being is prioritized during challenging times.

We can provide guidance on creating or updating relevant documents and ensure that your intentions are clearly documented and legally enforceable. Call Wilson Law PLC today at 866-603-5976 to set up a meeting or fill out our contact form and we will call you to schedule your meeting.