Estate planning can be a difficult task under any circumstances. When it comes to working with a loved one suffering from dementia, however, it can be that much more fraught. Ensuring that all of the necessary documents are in place while treating your family member with compassion can be a difficult balance. Navigating Alzheimer’s and estate planning is never easy, but working with an experienced elder law attorney can help make the process that much easier.
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it can be quite a shock. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have ongoing discussions with your loved ones and to ensure that all of their healthcare documents are in place. Dementia can come on quickly, so there may not be much time to fill out a power of attorney or other necessary forms once your family member receives their diagnosis.
When your loved one is diagnosed, however, it is important to begin talking with them early. This can be a difficult process as the person may not yet be ready to fully acknowledge their diagnosis. It’s important to understand how vulnerable they are and that they may be resistant to dealing with challenging decisions at that moment. It’s essential that you be patient with your family member but still ensure that all the bases are covered. Navigating Alzheimer’s and estate planning is a particular challenge and doing so with compassion is the most important consideration.
Healthcare Documents and Other Considerations
Because a person suffering from Alzheimer’s may not be able to make their own decisions, it’s important that your loved one’s healthcare documents are in order and up-to-date. This will ensure that the person they want to make decisions for them will be empowered to do so. The necessary documents include a durable power of attorney, which will name a proxy who will make healthcare decisions on the person’s behalf when they can no longer do so, and a living will, which is a more in-depth document outlining the person’s wishes for their own end-of-life healthcare. They may also choose to fill out a do not resuscitate order which will tell health care professionals not to perform CPR if the person’s heart stops.
Another important consideration for a loved one with dementia is asset protection. As they lose their ability to make decisions, they will no longer be able to control their own finances. Filling out a durable power of attorney for finances will allow your family member to designate someone to make financial decision on their behalf. In addition, it’s important for you to keep a close eye on your loved one’s finances. You’ll want to set up automated bill payments and take other steps to allow them to function financially even as they decline mentally. You’ll also want to ensure that they are not being taking advantage of by scammers. Signing the person up for fraud alerts and putting them on the National Do
Contact the Elder Law Attorneys at Deliberato Law Center
If you have any questions about protecting your loved ones in the event of a dementia diagnosis, do not hesitate to contact us today. Navigating Alzheimer’s and estate planning is always a challenging task, but the experienced lawyers at Deliberato are here to help. Give us a call at 216-341-3413 or fill out the form below to find out more.