Estate Planning is Critical for People in Early Stages of Dementia

Estate Planning is Critical for People in Early Stages of Dementia

Dementia is a disease characterized by memory deterioration, changes in personality and generally worsened cognitive function. The number of people in the United States with dementia has been on the rise in recent years, particularly as the baby boomer generation advances in their senior years.

Dementia can be a debilitating disease, and at a certain point, a person suffering from it could be classified as incapacitated and thus incapable of making their own legal, financial and medical decisions. This makes it important for people who have been diagnosed with early stages of dementia to complete and finalize an estate plan while they still have the legal capacity to do so.

In addition to all the usual issues to cover in your estate plan (distribution of assets, certain advance directives, choosing a personal representative or trustee, etc.), there are certain issues relating to current and future care you should consider. These issues include:

  • Living situation: Where do you wish to live and receive treatment? Some people would prefer to have in-home care, while others would prefer to move to an assisted living facility. Your choice here will likely come down to a combination of personal preferences, logistics and finances.
  • Advanced directives: You should designate in a power of attorney, a person to make financial decisions on your behalf. You should also appoint a health sure surrogate in a separate document, a person who makes medical decisions for you in the event you are unable.
  • Finances: How will you pay for the care you need? In-home care and assisted living costs can be quite expensive. It’s important you have a plan for how you will cover these costs, whether it’s through Medicaid, long term care insurance or with your own assets.

For more information about estate planning after a dementia diagnosis, contact an experienced Tampa, FL estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.