Whether your loved one has been officially diagnosed or is still trying to hide it, executing fundamental estate planning documents is a must.
Your loved one told you he or she has Alzheimer’s disease.
Or maybe this loved one has not told you.
But you have your suspicions.
What can you do?
First, do not take it personally.
He or she may need time.
According to Investment News in its recent article titled “Hiding Alzheimer's, like Gene Wilder did, is natural, so prepare for it with all clients,” Gene Wilder kept his Alzheimer’s diagnosis a secret for three years.
Named after Dr. Alheimer's, such a diagnosis can awaken fears of losing control.
Your loved one knows his or her brain will continue to worsen.
He or she is powerless to stop its steady deterioration.
Is it any wonder your loved one would want to hide the symptoms as long as possible?
The last thing anyone wants to lose is his or her independence.
While you must have patience, you should also be proactive.
Alzheimer’s carries significant risks for finances and estate planning.
Unfortunately, there are some real rats out there who take advantage of those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Because of this, you must involve financial advisers and an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney.
What can an estate planning attorney do?
First, an attorney can have your loved one execute a legal document appointing the agent or agents he or she would like to have access to private information or make decisions when your loved one can no longer make his or her own decisions.
If your loved one refuses to plan ahead and take on this responsibility now, his or her financial planner may have your loved one sign a form releasing the professional from liability should issues arise from the progression of the disease.
Also, these professionals may begin monitoring cognitive changes for your loved one.
As the disease progresses, they may ask you to begin attending any meetings.
No one wants to hear this news, but being both proactive and compassionate will give you and your loves one peace of mind.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
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 our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Investment News (September 1, 2016) “Hiding Alzheimer's, like Gene Wilder did, is natural, so prepare for it with all clients”