For people who fear they are experiencing the first signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, making legal plans is essential, because anytime now may be too late, according to the website alz.org.
“It’s important for everyone to plan for the future, but legal plans are especially important for a person with Alzheimer’s disease,” according to an article on the site. “The sooner planning starts, the more the person with dementia may be able to participate.
“Early planning allows the person with dementia to be involved and express his or her wishes for future care and decisions. This eliminates guesswork for families, and allows for the person with dementia to designate decision makers on his or her behalf. Early planning also allows time to work through the complex legal and financial issues that are involved in long-term care.”
This legal planning, the site adds, should include:
- Making plans for health care and long-term care
- Making plans for finances and property
- Naming another person to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia
- Legal capacity
That last aspect is defined in the alz.org article as “the ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of one’s actions and to make rational decisions.”
“In most cases, if a person with dementia is able to understand the meaning and importance of a given legal document, he or she likely has the legal capacity to execute, to carry out by signing it. The requirements of legal capacity can vary from one document to another. A lawyer can help determine what level of legal capacity is required for a person to sign a particular document.”