If someone close to you has received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, help plan his or her future through proper estate planning. Everyone should prepare for the future. But for someone who has received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the quicker they start, the better their chances are for participating in the process.
This is their life and their wishes. If someone you love is facing this illness, there are things they should consider:
- Long-term health care
- In-home care
- Plan for managing finances, assets, and property
- A health care proxy
Timing is crucial. To develop an estate plan, you need to have the mental capacity to do so. This requires the ability to comprehend actions and reactions. Does the person know what she is signing? Does she understand what will happen if she does sign?
An estate planning attorney and a doctor play unique roles in this process. Their lawyer can explain any estate planning documents to their clients and answer questions. All of which ensures that their client understands the ramifications of their actions.
Many people have already created an estate plan before the diagnosis (and they should). Take your loved one to meet with their lawyer. Anything previously made can be adapted and modified to fit their current needs. Estate planning is a process, not an event. Changes in your life require your estate plan to be updated.
If there is any question as to whether someone has the mental ability to create an estate plan, contact their doctor. She will either make a determination or connect you with someone who can.
Documents to Consider
If your loved one has never created an estate plan, start with these documents. If there is an existing plan, review these documents to see where they can be updated and amended:
- Living Will
- Power of Attorney
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Trusts (especially Revocable Trusts)
With a living will, you can make medical decisions ahead of time. What are your wishes for artificial life support? What sort of treatments are you willing to undergo?
A power of attorney allows someone to manage your assets, make investments, pay your bills, and make critical financial decisions on your behalf. For a healthcare power of attorney, someone you trust can make medical decisions on your behalf. Unforeseen issues will arise—problems not covered in your living will. Your healthcare power of attorney will speak and advocate for you when you cannot.
Kevin Tharpe, P.C.
At J. Kevin Tharpe, we offer kind and compassionate legal services to help you navigate the circumstances you face. If you or someone you love has received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, we can assist as you plan for the future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.