When a loved one has Alzheimer’s, advanced planning for legal and financial matters becomes even more important than in day-to-day estate planning. Ideally, planning well in advance, before the disease has taken a toll on the person’s cognitive abilities, may give them an opportunity to express their wishes for their care. The debilitating nature of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is extremely stressful for family members who are charged with being caregivers and decision makers. Planning early with the help of an experienced professional can alleviate some of the stress that results.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a different type of dementia is a challenge that requires a great deal of planning in advance. An article in The Lincoln (NE) Journal Star addressed a number of financial, legal, and medical care issues – “Planning the future of a loved one with dementia.”
You will encounter a number of costs in caring for a person with dementia. Planning for these expenses and costs throughout the course of the disease will involve examining all the costs you could possibly face now and in the future. These can include prescription drugs, personal care supplies, adult day care services, in-home care services, and residential care services.
Discuss financial needs and goals as early as possible. This way the person with the disease will be able to comprehend the issues, take a role in mapping out his or her objectives, and clarify their wishes. An experienced elder law attorney will have worked with financial advisors and will be able to point out potential financial resources, uncover tax deductions, and counsel against imprudent investment decisions. You may have these financial resources available to help you with the costs during the course of the disease:
- Health care coverage
- Long-term care insurance
- Life insurance
- Veterans benefits
- Other public programs
In addition, many states have state-funded, long-term care available, such as adult day care and respite care.
Legal capacity is the ability to understand the meaning and importance of a legal document, such as a power of attorney. A person suffering from dementia who has the ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of his or her actions to execute a document needs to be the decision-maker. As long as he or she possesses legal capacity, they should take part in legal planning. The article recommends these documents:
- Living will
- Power of Attorney
- Health Care Directive or Power of Attorney
- Living Trust
Talk to an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney if you have questions about elder care for your loved one.
Reference: The Lincoln (NE) Journal Star (July 20, 2015) “Planning the future of a loved one with dementia”