Did you know that one-in-ten seniors have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease? Or that symptoms such as memory loss, diminished problem-solving skills, and poor judgment progress over time until patients are no longer able to care for themselves? While there is no known cure, early detection provides an opportunity to slow the speed of many symptoms and allow for impacted seniors to make important legal decisions about their long-term care needs and estate wishes.
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. This month was established in observance of the annual public education campaign, the estimated 5.8 million seniors living with the disease, and the 500,000 new cases expected this year. It is the perfect opportunity to discuss five important legal documents every family impacted by Alzheimer’s should consider. Let us share them with you here in our blog.
- Durable Power of Attorney. A power of attorney document allows a designated person to make binding legal decisions on behalf of another person. A durability feature allows for decision-making power when the principal, in this case an elder adult with Alzheimer’s, is incapacitated or can no longer competently make his or her own decisions.
- Health Care Power of Attorney. A power of attorney for health care allows a person with Alzheimer’s Disease to name a health care agent to make health care decisions on his or her behalf when he or she is no longer able to do so. This is also known as an “advance directive.”
- Living Will. A living will is a type of advance directive that explains how a physically or mentally incapacitated person wants to be treated in certain medical situations, especially end-of-life scenarios.
- Standard Will. A will is an estate document that names an executor and beneficiaries. The personal representative is tasked with distributing estate assets per the estate holder’s predetermined instructions after they die. The named beneficiaries receive the assets, after the probate process.
- Revocable Trust. A revocable trust is another way for a person living with Alzheimer’s Disease to provide instructions for the distribution of their estate after death. Unlike a will, a trust can generate income while the trust grantor is alive and avoid probate after the grantor passes away. Trusts can also provide certain tax benefits.
There are many complex legal matters surrounding the establishment of these types of legal documents. It is critical that they be drafted correctly in order to be valid. If you or someone you know would like more information or guidance concerning specific Alzheimer’s related legal issues, our office is here to help. Do not hesitate to contact our practice to schedule a meeting.