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Guardianships for children of Kent Alzheimer's patients

As Kent residents may know, Americans are living longer than ever, but one unfortunate side effect is that an increasing percentage of the population suffers from advanced infirmities of aging. Some conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, may require a third party to step in and seek legal intervention because of the estate holder's incapacity. With statistics indicating that 43 percent of individuals over age 85 suffer from Alzheimer's disease, our readers in the Seattle area will want to be aware of the legal options for providing the best care for loved ones.

The two primary legal instruments used to protect incapacitated or otherwise vulnerable family members are powers of attorney and guardianships. However, there are different kinds of power of attorney, and it is important to choose the right one for your particular situation.

Individuals with a family history of incapacitating conditions may want to consider executing a power of attorney that becomes effective after a declaration of incapacity. And people who are in the early stages of an incapacitating illness have the option of executing a durable power of attorney that immediately authorizes a loved one to access and manage financial accounts.

Even when a power of attorney has been executed, establishing guardianship may still be necessary in some cases. Guardianship typically authorizes a person to manage the financial affairs of an incapacitated person. In advanced cases of dementia, a guardianship may also authorize the guardian to make personal decisions, such as choice of residence and medical care.

Assuming the responsibilities of guardianship or power of attorney can prove a daunting task for even the most caring of family members. Compassionate legal counsel helps many Washington caregivers through the difficult times and ensures that management of a loved one's affairs runs as smoothly as possible.

Source: CNBC, "How Alzheimer's Stresses Family Finances," Bill Losey, June 6, 2012

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