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Legal planning for individuals with Alzheimer's Disease


An Alzheimer's diagnosis is devastating for families in the Kent area. This disease seriously affects both the patient and their family. The prognosis of Alzheimer's can be discouraging, so legal documents and legal planning are very important. There are several estate planning legal documents a person with Alzheimer's should have in order for others to have the ability to make decisions on the patient's behalf and make sure their wishes are honored.

There are several legal documents that a person with Alzheimer's should have created before the disease progresses. The first is a power of attorney. This document allows the person to name an individual to act on their behalf for financial matters once they no longer have legal capacity. There should also be a power of attorney for health care decisions that need to be made. These can include health decisions for the types of treatments, deciding what care facilities to use, end of life decisions and do not resuscitate orders. Health care decisions should be discussed in advance so that the Alzheimer's patient makes their wishes known and feels comfortable knowing that their chosen power of attorney is able to act on their behalf. A living trust may be created in order to pool all assets into one place and create instructions as to what to do with these assets when a person is no longer able to make decisions. A will can also be created to distribute assets upon a person's death. A medical release of information form should also be created so that doctors can share information with family members.

An attorney can help create advance directives, wills, trusts and other documents for a person with Alzheimer's. These documents can help caregivers, family members and others make decisions as the disease progresses and the patient is no longer able to make decisions or care for themselves. Copies of these documents should be distributed to medical providers, family members and attorneys.

An Alzheimer's diagnosis can turn a family's life upside down. Having important legal documents created early can help a family focus on their loved one without having to worry if they have all the proper paperwork.

Source: alz.org, "Legal planning", accessed on July 25, 2016

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