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Estate planning for those with Alzheimer's


Many Kent area residents know someone who has Alzheimer's or has a family member with this dreadful disease. Those with Alzheimer's require very specialized and expensive care. A well-developed estate plan including a will can make sure a family has the necessary resources available if their loved one becomes ill with a serious condition.

It can be difficult for a person with Alzheimer's to create an estate plan. If the person is not able to make decisions a conservator will need to be appointed to act on behalf of the person. The sooner a person with Alzheimer's makes a plan, the better. Until a court determines that a person lacks the ability to make decisions, that person has the right to make all decisions regardless of medical diagnosis. This can include the right to refuse assistance and medical treatment.

A legal professional skilled in estate planning can help a person who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and the person's family. The attorney can meet with the family and come up with a plan as to what needs to be done to ensure the person receives good care.

During the meeting the family should bring important paperwork. This includes a list of all assets including bank accounts, real estate and other financial documents. This list should include whose name is on the title and the beneficiaries. If estate planning documents have been drafted already these should also be included. Also, income tax returns, life insurance policies, health insurance policies and if a person has any agreement to be admitted to a health care facility.

An attorney who specializes in estate planning has the experience necessary to know what is needed to make sure that a family who is dealing with Alzheimer's is ready for the financial and emotional toll the disease can bring. A plan can help a family focus on their loved one and not have to worry about financial and legal matters.

Source: bizjournals.com, "Planning and caring for individuals with Alzheimer's," Tracy Morgan and Ginger Skinner, March 14, 2016

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