June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and as such, now is a good time to talk about estate planning and how a degenerative neurological condition could affect you or someone you love in the future.
Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other dementias, are serious illnesses that usually get worse over time and with age. Over six million people in America deal with Alzheimer’s disease. Those individuals aren’t the only people who have to worry about Alzheimer’s and its impact, though. Caregivers, friends and other loved one all have to experience it and what the person goes through.
Getting a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain condition or dementia can be upsetting and frustrating, but it’s important to take time to address the future. With a good estate plan, you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones if one of these illnesses will impact your life.
What should people with Alzheimer’s do with their estate plan?
Anyone with this illness should understand that they may become confused or lose their memories. As such, it is important to work on estate planning right now. In the early days of this disease, they may have few symptoms, but as it progresses, they may need more support, reminders and, eventually, a guardian.
In an estate plan, someone with this illness should set up their health care proxy and care wishes. They should also set up their financial power of attorney and work on setting aside assets into trusts for loved ones now.
In the future, they may lose the capacity to make changes to their will, so regular medical appointments are necessary to be sure that they are still capable of understanding the law and any changes they may want to make. Once they get to a point where they can no longer understand how their decisions may affect themselves or others, they will no longer be able to make changes to their estate, trusts or will legally.
This is a complex situation to deal with, but if you or someone you love have a degenerative neurological issue, it’s time to learn your legal rights and to put protections into place now.