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Dementia and estate planning

Some residents of Louisiana may be faced with challenges when planning their estate. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease need these legal documents and most likely will need help creating them.

What are the challenges of dementia?

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease cause cognitive decline. Individuals with these conditions also suffer from memory problems and language abilities especially when the disease is advanced. As a result, if a beloved family member has been diagnosed with one of these conditions or shows signs of them, it’s important to help them. When creating an estate plan, a person in the earliest stages of these illnesses still has enough cognitive ability to understand what needs to be done.

It’s important for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to act fast when it comes to estate planning. This is because, legally, a person must be of sound mind to make such important decisions about their assets, property, medical care and future.

What documents should someone with dementia include in estate planning?

In addition to a living will that states their wishes for end-of-life care, the person should have other documents included in their estate plan. It’s important to create a financial power of attorney, which outlines how the person wants their financial matters to be handled when they are no longer able to manage them due to incapacity. The document also names a trusted person who will handle their finances for them.

A health care power of attorney is an important part of estate planning that allows the person to state how they want to receive medical care when they can no longer express it verbally. The document also names a health care proxy, a person who will have access to the person’s medical records and ensure that their wishes for health care are carried out.

A revocable living trust holds assets and property that the person wishes to leave to their beneficiaries. Anything within the trust can bypass probate, making it easier for them to get to those beneficiaries. As the trust is revocable, assets and property can be added and removed at any time.