You face a variety of obstacles when you or someone you love is diagnosed with a medical condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, and all of those considerations need to be made immediately before the disease has a chance to further develop. Now is the time to make certain legal decisions to prepare for the future, in addition to decisions about care, specialists, medical procedures, and therapies. The earlier you develop an estate plan, the greater the possibility that the patient would be able to convey their full desires, ensuring that exactly what they would want is the estate plan.
There are seven (7) stages of dementia. Dementia is a term that refers to a series of symptoms; lack of memory, mental fogginess, a reduction in skills to solve problems. These symptoms can cause many diseases. One example of a condition that destroys the brain and may cause dementia is Alzheimer’s. Vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, Mixed Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, and Huntington’s disease .
Why Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s or Dementia is so Important
Thinking of a future where you or a loved one might be suffering from dementia is painful, because if you don't prepare for the possibility, not only can you put your estate at risk, you may put your family and treatment at risk. When dementia reaches the point that the individual is unable to comprehend their assets, the purposes of the documents, or remember family members, an individual can no longer establish or amend an estate plan.
If you do not have an estate plan, then your assets fall under the State of Florida’s Intestacy Laws at your death. If you have not designated who can act on your behalf or how your assets should be separated until you are mentally incapacitated by dementia, Florida courts will step in. Those are family affairs, however, and where possible, those decisions should be left to the family. If a Florida estate planning lawyer designs and implements a plan designed to ensure that your desires are met and that your loved ones are not caught up in the courts, the process will remain private and effective.
Without a sound mind and capacity, you will not make a legally valid will, power of attorney, or other legal documents, i.e. you must consider your family situation, act on your own free will and understand the implications of your decisions.
The Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s & dementia disease will begin should include:
Handling your finances
The first step in ensuring that sound financial decisions are made by someone who meets with your approval, is to pick a person you trust and grant them a durable power of attorney.
Giving an "advance directive" in Florida allows you to dictate your health care desires in advance of a medical emergency, by selecting an agent, that will ensure that your wishes are met.
The court will do it for you if you do not appoint a guardian. Planning for the transition now will give you the security of knowing that your young minor children will be cared for by a trustworthy person or couple that you know in your lifetime.
Home and other assets
If you die intestate (without a valid will) a long court-supervised probate process will determine what goes to whom and a probate judge in the county you reside in, will make the decisions.
Estate Planning for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Memory and mental capacity-affecting diseases are difficult because these conditions can worsen to the point that the person can no longer grasp the scope of their property, the intent of estate planning, or even remember family members. These symptoms may serve as evidence of a lack of testamentary capacity, indicating that a person can no longer develop or change their estate plan.
It is essential to develop an estate plan when a person is still of a sound mind prior to the disease making you incapacitated. You should consider executing a living will, health care surrogate designation, and durable power of attorney in addition to a will. You must have at least one person designated to make decisions on your behalf if you become disabled. If at the time of your incapacitation, you do not have these documents, your family members will have to file for guardianship. Get in contact with our estate planning lawyers at Finity Law Firm to plan ahead.