Comprehensive Estate Planning And Probate Advocacy

Should your estate plan have a backup plan?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Estate Planning

When a person creates an estate plan, they may name an individual to serve as a healthcare proxy if they become incapacitated and can’t make their own medical decisions.

But what happens if the person you named can no longer fulfill their duties?

Brian Wilson’s situation

For generations, the Beach Boys’ music epitomizes the summertime vibe. ‘Surfin’ USA’, ‘California Girls’ and other hits were the perfect companion to warm summer days and evenings around a bonfire. Brian Wilson, along with his brothers, cousin and close friend, created a genre of music that is still loved today.

Currently, Wilson has a major neurocognitive disorder, which is comparable to dementia. His wife, Melinda, was named the agent in his advanced healthcare directive. Unfortunately, Melinda passed away in January. Now, his family is filing a petition with the court for conservatorship. Wilson’s mental decline leaves him incapable of managing his own affairs or appointing another healthcare proxy.

Brian Wilson’s situation is a prime example of why having a backup healthcare proxy is crucial. There are multiple reasons, in addition to the possibility of them dying while you are incapacitated, including:

  • They might not always be available when needed due to travel or being unreachable in an emergency.
  • They may realize they are not emotionally equipped to make a tough decision regarding medical treatments.
  • The relationship between you and your primary healthcare proxy may deteriorate, or they may no longer be a part of your life.

A backup healthcare proxy adds a safety net to your advanced health directives. It helps to ensure that your medical wishes will be honored even if your primary agent isn’t available.