Your'e In a Coma. Now What?

Will It Happen to You?

If you ask a group of Texans, “How many of you believe you may become incapacitated at some point in your life?” the number would undoubtedly be low. If you ask, “How many of you have made plans in the event you do become incapacitated?” you would likely receive blank stares. Today, people are living longer, which increases the odds of bad things happening. According to the World Life Expectancy (, the average life expectancy for men living in Texas is 76 years and for women it is 80 years.

Are You Prepared?

Incapacited means due to a physical or mental condition, a person is substantially unable to provide food, clothing, shelter, for himself or herself, or to care for the individual's own physical health or manage the individual's financial affairs. There are many ways to become incapacitated. The more common ways include Parkinson's Disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, depression, physical injuries.

We all believe we are invincible until a family member or friend has a health issue. If you become incapacitated and you are not prepared, then your family may have a difficult time, not only dealing with the emotional aspects, but also with the practical impact. For example, who will pay your bills? Who are your creditors? Do you pay some creditors in person? What account do you use to pay your car payment?

Not Being Ready

My grandmother had an unexpected stroke that left her incapacitated. She was alive, but unresponsive. There were no signs that death was imminent or that she would wake up. As days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months, my father was faced with a decision of how to handle her affairs.

How to be Ready

Did she want to be on life support? Unfortunately, my grandmother did not have an advanced directive to tell the physicians if she wanted to remain on life support. So, the task would fall on her family to make the decision. She also did not have a medical power of attorney naming someone to make health care decisions on her behalf. Also, she did not have a durable power of attorney so someone could handle her financial responsibilities. Therefore, my father had to go to court to seek guardianship of his own mother, so he could care for her physically and financially. Luckily, my aunt and uncle did not disagree about how to handle the situation.

Family Impact

My grandmother was in her 80s, so having a stroke should not have been a surprise. But according to 25% of stroke victims are under the age of 65. No one enjoys thinking about bad things happening to us, but we also don’t want to think that we placed our family in a tough situation by not taking appropriate steps ahead of time.


At the Law Office of Hugh Spires, Jr., PLLC, we remove the hassle and expense of obtaining the estate planning documents you need. We travel to our clients within 50 miles of San Antonio, Texas at no additional cost, and for those located outside San Antonio we can advise and serve clients’ needs remotely. Our fees are flat rates and set out on our website. Contact us at 210-874-5700 to discuss how to prepare for unfortunate and unexpected events. You can also email us at