September 21, 2020 is World Alzheimer’s day, an annual event sponsored by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) to raise awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to ADI, stigma and misinformation about Alzheimer’s is a global problem, requiring global action. For example, early signs of Alzheimer’s include decreased executive functioning, disorganization, and decreasing ability to multitask. Did you know, however, that these very symptoms may be often dismissed as a person merely being tired or getting older. The end result of these stigmas and misinformation can be a lag time until an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is made.
The delayed diagnosis can result in the loss of critical time, not only in terms of evaluating treatment options, but also in terms of financial planning. Unfortunately, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is associated with excessive medical costs. These costs range from an Alzheimer’s patient requiring housekeeping, or a companion, all the way to living full-time at a memory care center. Following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, asset protection can be imperative.
This may include Medicaid planning so the Alzheimer’s patient can receive government assistance for his or her health care needs. This may also include the formation of a special needs trust, which can provide for the Alzheimer’s patient, while protecting his or her assets. Furthermore, it may include designating a durable power of attorney for financial decision making and a will or trust to distribute assets upon the person’s passing.
As financial situations are varied, it can be important to consult with an estate planning attorney for individualized guidance. It can be best for this planning to occur while the Alzheimer’s patient still has the legal capacity to make his or her own legal and financial decisions. Legal capacity is the ability of a person to understand the actions they are taking, as well as, the potential consequences of those actions. If the person lacks legal capacity, the planning can still be accomplished, but will likely require a court appointed conservator.
Contacting our office immediately following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis means that we can start helping you manage the road ahead right away. Reach out to our office today to schedule a meeting.