Dementia & Estate Planning: What to Remember

Experiencing something personally often has a much different feeling than reading about it, observing it, or talking about it.  Unfortunately, when people are increasingly becoming connected to how a diagnosis of dementia can impact estate and legal planning.  The progression of dementia can range from one patient to another.  However, while a plan for incapacitation may have worked from the outside, the development of the dementia can impede your plan and execution of that plan.  
Estate planning documents, such as a trust and a power of attorney can become increasingly important and should be crafted well in advance of a dementia diagnosis.  Although no one can sure anticipate an diagnosis of dementia. Having these documents in advance is significant for preventing problems. Although there may be no tax issues to worry about with regards to the estate, estate planning goes so much farther than just the taxes or death planning.
A power of attorney, for example, could be used by a caregiver to get the bank to tighten things up with financial affairs when someone faculties decline with dementia.  Since that person might have been the primary financial decision maker responsible for responding to new offers of personal loans, home equity loans and new credit card accounts, a caregiver with an appropriate power of attorney can get this to stop.
Furthermore, lowering limits on credit cards or shutting credit cards down completely, if this person is no longer able to make informed and reasonable decisions on their own, may be important.  But only an individual who has been empowered with the power of attorney is in a position to make these kinds of stipulations and to follow through on them. Schedule a consultation with your own estate planning lawyer to discuss what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones if you are concerned about a recent diagnosis of dementia or symptoms that might indicate a person could be developing dementia.
The investment portfolio of millennials is changing the face of the estate planning industry.  Estate planners have, for years, been focused on baby boomers who will pass on significant assets to future generations, but the way that millennials are saving and thinking about their own future is altering the industry as a whole.  The estate planning market has for many years handled the distribution of assets among the descendents of deceased wealthy individuals.
If you are concerned about a possible dementia diagnosis or just need your questions answered about your own potential incapacity planning, now is the time to talk to an attorney who has background and experience in this area.
 
 

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