Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s usually develop slowly, but get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with the individual’s daily tasks. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or you suspect they may be, it is time to start thinking about financial planning for someone with Alzheimer’s.
Legal and Financial Issues
It is not uncommon for our parents, or other seniors in our lives, to need assistance with various aspects of our lives, as they grow older. Most of us find ourselves unprepared to deal with the legal and financial consequences of Alzheimer’s. Because of the expectation of a continual decline in mental and physical health, associated with Alzheimer’s, family members are encouraged to review and update their health care and financial arrangements now. If you do not have those plans in place, you need to at least create the basic instruments, such as living trusts and advanced directives, to ensure that all financial decisions can be appropriately made.
Why advance planning is necessary
One of the major issues with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is the fact that the individual will gradually lose the ability to think clearly, jeopardizing their competence to make legal and financial decisions. This decline in the ability to have meaningful participation in decision making means that advance planning is critical. If at all possible, advance planning should begin as soon as possible after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, while your loved one is still able to participate in the planning. In many cases, individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s are still capable of understanding most aspects of the necessary decision making.
Do I need a lawyer?
There are many important reasons to obtain the advice of a lawyer whenever you are considering advance planning. This is especially so, when you are dealing with the legal and medical issues related to Alzheimer’s patients. In order to be sure that your loved one’s wishes will be carried out, it is wise to retain an attorney that is experienced in interpreting the laws, and knows how to anticipate problems that may arise. Preparing for the future can be complicated and overwhelming, an experienced financial planning attorney can make it easier on you and your family.
Using Advance Directives for Management of Finances
In order to create the necessary advance directives, your loved one must still have the legal capacity to make decisions. The estate planning tools that would be used, all require legal capacity, including wills, powers of attorney, and living trusts. Many medical and legal experts believe that a person newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s needs to move quickly to create or update these important documents.
If you have questions regarding Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, or any other incapacity or financial planning needs, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.