In the event that you become incapacitated, you will need to have someone else manage your financial affairs. Clients often have the misconception that their spouse or adult children can automatically begin the management of their finances in the event that they become incapacitated. In reality, your family will have to petition a court to declare you incompetent before they can begin to legally manage your finances. This process, called a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship, can be lengthy, costly, stressful, and will continue throughout the period of your incapacity. The way to prevent the need for a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship is for you to designate, through legal documentation, a person/persons that you trust to have the authority to manage your finances, including paying your bills, taking distributions from your IRAs, selling stocks, refinancing your home, withdrawing money from your accounts, etc.. Having a Will does not take care of this issue since Wills are only effective upon your death. At the very least you should have a Financial Power of Attorney, however, even these may be insufficient or unreliable as not every institution will accept them.