Counsel of Good Value: Ziegler Metzger's Motto Since 1952

Mental health concerns come to light during estate planning

The stigma surrounding mental health issues has changed lately. Instead of viewing these conditions negatively, recent conversations have shed light on how people deal with them effectively.

When creating an estate plan, mental health concerns may take center stage both before and after your death. Consider the following ways that your health and well-being, mentally and physically, may impact the estate planning process.

Creating a power of attorney for mental health

A power of attorney document has many uses throughout your life. One specific purpose deals with choosing a person to represent you should you become unable to make sound decisions. If you cannot make decisions due to mental health issues, you want a say in who takes over your health care plan. As such, a mental health medical power of attorney may narrow down the scope of what a designated representative can and cannot do on your behalf.

Protecting family members

You may have family members who struggle with mental health conditions, and you may have some concerns over how to care for them in your estate plan. Leaving a mentally-ill beneficiary money may bar her or him from receiving public benefits such as Social Security Disability or Medicare. Creating a trust for that loved one puts a third-party trustee in charge of the money to help preserve the funds for future care.

Addressing mental health concerns

Your mental health issues may affect your estate plan. If a beneficiary challenges the validity of your will based on your failing mental health, a judge may decide to go against your wishes. As such, you must have supporting documentation in your estate plan as to the status of your mental health at the time you draft your preferences. This can come from your doctor, attorney or a variety of other sources.

Creating an estate plan can prove challenging, even if you do not have any medical issues. Getting help from a qualified attorney in drafting the best plan for your family may save them from a long, drawn-out process.