Estate planning is important preparation for Alzheimer’s.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are both hard diagnoses for families.
It means coming to terms with diminished mental functioning.
Eventually, your loved one may lack mental competency to make his or her own decisions.
According to a recent being patient article “Alzheimer’s and the Law,” you should take estate planning steps now to protect your loved one as the diseases progress.
He or she will help you create a comprehensive plan to meet the needs of your loved ones.
You will need two fundamental legal documents.
The first is a general durable power of attorney.
This allows an agent to make financial decisions and act on behalf of your loved one should he or she become incapacitated.
The next is an durable power of attorney for health care decisions.
It also provides power to an agent should your loved one become incapacitated.
This one grants authority only to make medical decisions.
Often this is created in conjunction with a health care treatment directive.
What does this document accomplish?
It allows your loved one to provide directions regarding the type of treatment he or she would like administered.
These documents can be signed as long as the individual has not been declared incapacitated.
It is important to get these estate planning affairs in order at the earliest sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s if no plan has yet been created.
What happens if no estate plan is in place before the loved one is declared incapacitated?
You will need to petition the court for guardianship and authority to act on behalf of your loved one.
This can be messy and costly.
When choosing agents it is important to discuss your wishes with the preferred agents.
They will need to be willing to take on the responsibility and live near (or be accessible) enough to make important decisions in timely manner.
Also, play to the strengths of a potential agent.
Place someone good with finances in charge of the money.
Do not place someone overly sensitive in the role of your health care agent.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney will give your and your loved ones confidence and peace moving forward.
Reference: being patient (August 22, 2019) “Alzheimer’s and the Law”