What is Incapacity?



Most people think of planning for death when doing their estate planning, but estate planning also plans for potential incapacity while you are still living. There is spectrum of capacity, from having the full mental capacity to handle your own affairs and make good judgements, to the point of incapacity, where you don't have a firm grip on what's going on and may need someone to help handle your affairs. Capacity may decline over your lifetime, with the advent of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, or you may temporarily become incapacitated, such as if you are in an accident, where someone may have to help you make decisions and do things, such as pay bills. Legally speaking, there is also testamentary capacity, also called "sound mind", which is the legal capacity to sign documents. 


is the founder of Hawaii Trust & Estate Counsel, a statewide Hawaii estate planning law firm with offices in Waimea, Hilo, Kona, and Honolulu. He has taught Estate Planning at the Richardson School of Law, and business law courses at the University of Hawaii—Hilo. He has resided in North Hawaii since 2008....MORE


Estate Planning is necessary because, as the old expression goes, "You can't take it with you" and you never know what's going to happen in life.  The estate planning documents of an advance health-care directive, power of attorney, and sometimes a trust help someone step into your shoes to make decisions on your behalf, during your lifetime. Then after your lifetime, you may need a will or will substitute, such as a revocable living trust, if they want to control who inherits their property and how and when that inheritance is received, to minimize administration costs, and to avoid unnecessary taxes.  A well-planned estate is a gift to your loved ones and provides you peace of mind. It is part of your legacy. 

Everyone has a different story and should have a unique estate plan.  In most cases, the first meeting with one of our attorneys is complementary and serves the purpose of understanding your goals and educating you on your options.  Depending on the option that is right for you, we will give you a price quote at the first meeting, before moving forward with your plan. Feel free to explore the basic information on our website.  


This blog does not contain legal advice.  You should not rely on this to determine what is in your own best interest.  For legal advice, specific to your situation, you must meet with an attorney.  All posts are based on hypothetical scenarios, not the actual circumstances of real clients.