An estate plan is more than just preparing for death, it also provides disability protection through what is called special needs planning. This can help your family be protected if you ever become unable to care for yourself, pay your bills or manage your own affairs. The most common disability that elderly men and women suffer from, is dementia. Dementia is a term that refers to a set of symptoms; memory loss, unclear thinking, a decline in problem-solving skills. Several diseases can cause the symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer’s being the most prevalent.
Dementia is considered one of the fastest growing epidemics and as you get older there is a greater possibility that you may suffer from this disease. It is painful to think this way, but if you do not plan for it, you may put your estate, your family, and your care at risk.
Once dementia reaches the point where a person is unable to understand their assets, the purpose of the documents, or remember family members, a person can no longer create or modify an estate plan. If the disease has progressed this far, the only option your family has is to file for Guardianship. This becomes necessary if you have not executed a power of attorney giving an agent the authority to act for you financially, or a health care power of attorney giving an agent the authority to make medical decisions.
The most important estate planning steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones should you be diagnosed with dementia is to sign or update advance directives. These include a living will, health care power of attorney and power of attorney. By signing these in advance, you are able to choose the people you want to represent your interests.
In addition to advance directives, you should review existing wills and trusts. If a will or trust does not exist, it is important that one is created for asset protection. There are even certain trusts that can save trust assets from going towards nursing home costs or home care paid by Medicaid.
With many uncertainties that come with aging, it is important to involve a legal professional to help understand how the estate planning process can help. A comprehensive estate plan can ensure your needs are met and alleviate stress for your loved ones.
Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at Deliberato Law Center
To learn more about estate planning or to get started on your plan today, do not hesitate to reach out to the Deliberato Law Center today either by calling us at (216) 341-3413 or using the contact form on our website.