Does your family have a history of Alzheimer's or dementia? If yes, then denial the worst thing you can do.
So, what financial planning and estate planning steps should you and your loved ones take while there is still time?
Today we turn to The Lincoln (NE) Journal Star and its recent article titled “Planning the future of a loved one with dementia.”
As the title suggest, the article contains some practical pointers in terms of money and legal concerns.
1. Financial Planning.
Expect a number new and related expenses when caring for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia.
These expenses may include prescription drugs, personal care supplies, adult day care services, in-home care services, and residential care services.
While you are at it, remember to factor "inflation" into the mix.
Especially if you are helping one or both of your parents, discuss financial needs and goals as early as possible.
As a result, they will be able to comprehend the issues, take an active role in mapping out their objectives, and clarify their wishes.
An experienced elder law attorney will have worked with many financial advisors and will be able to point out potential financial resources, uncover tax deductions, and counsel against imprudent investment decisions.
Do your parents have any of these financial resources available to help cover the expenses associated with the disease over its full course?
- Health care coverage
- Long-term care insurance
- Life insurance
- Veterans benefits
- Other public programs
In addition, many states have state-funded, long-term care available, such as adult day care and respite care.
2. Legal Planning.
Legal capacity is basically the able to understand the meaning and importance of a legal document.
Whether a power of attorney, a will or a revocable trust, even someone afflicted with Alzheimer's or dementia who has the ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of his or her actions to execute a document needs to be the decision-maker.
As long as they possess legal capacity, they should take part in legal planning.
An elder law attorney can help determine whether your loved one has the requisite legal capacity.
If yes, then he or she likely will recommend execution of some fundamental legal documents, to include a:
- Living will,
- Power of Attorney,
- Health Care Directive or Power of Attorney,
- Will, and/or
- Living Trust.
If your loved one no longer has legal capacity, then a guardianship/conservatorship may be required so a trusted family member can make personal, health care and financial decisions for them under court supervision.
This, however, should only be a last resort.
Planning is always a more preferable course of action than reacting.
Talk to an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney if you have questions about these and other elder care issues.
To locate an elder law attorney near you, visit the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit my estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: The Lincoln (NE) Journal Star (July 20, 2015) “Planning the future of a loved one with dementia”