According to the Alzheimer's Association, every 67 seconds an individual develops Alzheimer's. Even more alarming is that as many as 500,000 people die from this disease each year. If you happen to have a loved one who suffers from this condition, you understand firsthand just how difficult it is. While your loved one suffers from a reduced quality of life, it can also make your role as caretaker even more strenuous, particularly when it comes to estate planning. Knowing how to make plans while navigating your loved one's condition is essential.
What You Can Do
Even if your parent has the physical ability to sign their name in agreement to the terms of an estate planning agreement, their signature will not hold him up in court. Individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's have been deemed incapable of understanding the consequences and nature of their decisions. In this instance, estate planning must begin with a conservator, a legal process that takes your loved one's ability to make legal decisions and grants it to someone else.
Being granted the title of conservator is a hard effort that requires you to open the book to your finances, criminal history and other personal information. The court then examines this information to determine if you have the best interest at heart for your loved one. Only after you have been granted this title can you move forward in creating a trust or will or with any other estate planning decisions.
If you don't have a loved one who has been diagnosed with this condition, consider yourself fortunate that you have ample time to plan ahead. While no one wants their loved to suffer from Alzheimer's, the unfortunate reality is that it is a real possibility. Here are a few questions you should ask your loved one. In the event your family has to deal with this disease in the future, you have some basic information to provide to your attorney.
- How do you plan to pay for your future medical care?
- Who you do want to designate to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf?
- What type of environment do you want to receive treatment [in], such as in a nursing home or through in-home care?
While it is a difficult road, it is important that you still make an effort to facilitate your loved one's estate plans once they have been diagnosed with this condition. Make it a point to act early, as your loved one will likely possess greater mental capacity in the early stages of onset.
For more information, contact a local law firm like McFarland & Masters LLC.