Waiting to create an estate plan could result in significant out-of-pocket costs at the end of life. Or even worse, it could result in a person with Alzheimer’s disease being subject to the will of the courts. With the number of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s skyrocketing, there is no time to wait to get your affairs in order.
What will you do if you develop Alzheimer's? This unfortunate disease gets to the core of who we think we are. People with the disease often forget their friends and family members.
Anyone who has ever known someone with Alzheimer's knows how frustrating this disease can be for the patients and their loved ones. A recent article in UT San Diego, titled "Legal, financial planning for Alzheimer's patients," details some steps people can take to be prepared should they or their loved ones ever get the disease.
The key thing to know is that you need to prepare ahead of time.
People with dementia normally lack the capacity to sign legal documents. That means you cannot make plans after you get Alzheimer's. If you wait, then a court might be required to make plans for you.
You should prepare documents which will give authority to someone who will make both medical decisions and financial decisions for you if you cannot. A medical power of attorney names an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot. A properly funded revocable living trust will name a successor trustee to manage your finances for your benefit when you are no longer able to do so. It is not recommended to rely solely on a general durable power of attorney to handle the finances, as current Texas State law does not require financial institution to accept these documents.
While you are at it, make sure you have an up-to-date estate plan (i.e., a last will and testament, or revocable living trust), to provide for the efficient transfer of your assets upon your death. Your beneficiary designations should be reviewed, too.
If you or your loved ones have not yet planned for the possibility of Alzheimer's, then visit an experienced estate planning attorney without delay and get everything in order.
Reference: UT San Diego (October 23, 2014) "Legal, financial planning for Alzheimer's patients"