Estate Planning & Dementia: What You Need to Know?

Close-up of home caregiver and senior woman holding hands

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one-third of people who live past the age of 85 will develop dementia. Dementia is a general term that refers to symptoms characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss, unclear thinking, and a decline in problem-solving skills. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, it may be challenging to think beyond the day-to-day. However, taking the necessary steps to safeguard your assets and ensure your loved ones are adequately cared for after you’re gone is crucial. If you don’t plan properly, you will jeopardize your estate and future care. If you have no estate plan, your assets will pass by the state’s intestacy rules. Please continue reading to learn the importance of estate planning when concerned about dementia and how a compassionate Montgomery County Estate Planning Attorney can help you craft a plan that accurately reflects your wishes. 

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Prepare If I’m Concerned About Dementia?

As mentioned above, those with dementia eventually lose their memory, cognitive ability, and language. If you are concerned that you or someone you love has dementia, it’s vital to prepare certain legal documents to safeguard your future. It’s important to understand that you won’t be able to create a legally valid will, power of attorney, or other legal documents unless you are of sound mind. This means you must be able to understand your family circumstances, act of your own free will, and understand the consequences of your choices. Therefore, early planning enables you to make informed healthcare, financial, long-term care, and end-of-life decisions. If you are concerned that you or a loved one is developing dementia, you should consider creating the following estate planning documents for the future:

  • A Living Will is a legal document that allows you to specify how your estate will be distributed and managed when you die. It can also address care for minor children, adult dependents, pets, gifts, and end-of-life arrangements.
  • A Living Trust: You may consider creating a trust as it names and instructs an individual referred to as the trustee to hold and distribute property and funds on your behalf when you can no longer manage your affairs.
  • A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: This names someone to make financial decisions for you when you cannot do so.
  • A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: One of the most important legal documents to create is an advance health care directive in which you can name your health care proxy. This individual can make health care decisions on your behalf if you cannot communicate them yourself. Having a representative who knows your values and wishes is beneficial as it helps you plan for situations that can’t be foreseen.

At JD Katz, we are prepared to help you craft these legal documents to ensure your health and financial decisions are in trusted hands. If you or a loved one is facing a dementia diagnosis, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced attorneys, who can help make the best decisions for you and your family.